Is an Employer Liable for an Employee’s Car Accident?
Vehicle accidents happen every day, including while you’re at work. This means an employee can become involved in a car accident and crash a company vehicle.
If you have been involved in such a mishap, you may be asking yourself whether you can sue a company if its employee has a collision. This depends on multiple elements.
The first factor you should consider is whether the driver was behaving in accordance with his or her employment. You should try to gather details of an incident where an employee crashed a company vehicle so you can establish liability.
Gather Important Information About the Crash
When gathering facts and placing liability in a case where an employee crashes a company vehicle, details influencing the case can include any of the following:
- Accidents caused by mechanical failure
- Aggressive driving
- Dangerous weather
- Disregarding road signs and local laws
- Distracted driving, including using a cell phone
- Drinking and driving
- Fatigued and careless driving
Responsibility of the Employer
Usually, an employer is responsible for the action of an employee who is driving for work-related purposes and during regular working hours. The law refers to this circumstance as vicarious liability, whereby an employer is responsible for a subordinate employee.
If you were the victim of an accident where the other driver was driving while on the clock for their company, you may be able to sue that driver’s company for damages. In this case, a legal team would evaluate the facts of the incident and determine whether the employer is responsible for the injuries incurred.
The employer could be responsible if the employee was doing any of the following:
- Attending a service engagement
- Carrying out work-related errands during working hours
- Conducting sales calls during working hours
- Delivering goods as a truck driver, food delivery person, mail carriers, etc.
- Piloting a mode of public transportation
Most cases of employer liability do not include commuting to work or running personal errands after work. This is why determining liability can be a complicated process, and why we recommend hiring a car accident lawyer who specializes in vehicle liability. In addition, going after an employer rather than an individual can be intimidating, as the employer and their attorney are likely to fight to prove the accident was not their fault. The employer and its insurer may try to discredit your claim, stating that they are not responsible for the employee crashing the company vehicle. In cases where the facts suggest otherwise, your legal team will work to build the strongest case possible demonstrating the employer’s liability for the driver’s actions.
If legal authorities conclude that the employer is not responsible for the actions of the driver, then your attorneys seek compensation from the motorist and push to collect from the vehicle operator’s insurance company.