Tort Law: In the following scenario, what framework should I go about using in identifying business/legal issues to identify, explain and provide a solution this: Example: A delivery driver is completing his daily route and is approaching an intersection which signals a red light for him to stop. He does so, but when the light turns green, the vehicle ahead of him does not proceed.  The delivery truck driver becomes agitated and accelerates, hitting the vehicle ahead of him, causing personal injury to the driver of that vehicle. 

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It is clear in the case that the driver intentionally accelerated and hit the car in front of him causing physical harm to the driver of that car. It should be noted that the driver decided to drive recklessly, which resulted in the injury of a third party. Based on the intent and the results of the situation, the issue falls under vehicular assault. The driver of the delivery truck was agitated and tried to drive the other car off the road. 

The conduct of the delivery truck driver was reckless because the individual did not consider the situation in the other car. It is possible that the car in front had developed mechanical failure or the driver had suffered a heart attack. However, if the car in front was deliberately blocking the car behind then the best course of action for the delivery truck would be to report that vehicle for obstruction but not ramming into it.

If the driver of the delivery truck was an employee, then the doctrine of Respondeat Superior would come into effect. This doctrine shifts responsibility from the employee to the employer as long as the employee committed the offense or accident while on official duty for the employer. The doctrine also covers negligent acts of employees. Although it was within the driver's scope of duties to drive the delivery truck, ramming the vehicle in front after losing their temper is not part of their duties. Thus, the doctrine might not apply.

In court, the actions of the delivery truck driver will be determined first, and the employer may be brought in through Respondeat Superior in the interest of justice for the claimant.

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This case is simple: This is vehicular assault. It is entirely the driver's fault, there is no excuse for this behavior, and there is basically no chance the driver will be able to foist the liability off on the company or the other driver. Indeed, they may actually be subject to criminal penalties (in addition to civil penalties) for their reckless and harmful action. In fact, if anyone dies in the other vehicle, they could probably be charged with second-degree murder.

The fact that the light was actually green at the time the driver accelerated might mitigate their liability slightly, but not very much. Unless they can successfully argue that they thought the other vehicle was moving and were mistaken (and even then, the burden of proof would be on them, since it is generally the responsibility of drivers to ensure that they do not collide with vehicles that are stationary for any reason---including stalls and other emergency stops), they are going to be held responsible based on intent---they caused the collision willfully and on purpose.

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