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Employer Liability In A Work-Related Car Accident

Car accidents happen all the time, but what happens when an individual gets into an auto accident while ‘on the job’? While this is more common of a problem for a truck driver or a commercial vehicle driver, it can still happen to a car driving employee just as easily.

When Is The Employer Liable For An Employee’s Car Accident?

There are two ways that an employer could be held liable for an auto accident caused by an employee: negligence and vicarious liability.

Employer negligence

If the car accident was in some way due to the negligence of the employer, then the employer could be held liable for the accident. This negligence can be from the negligent hiring of an employee or from the negligent supervision of an employee.

Negligent hiring: When an organization hires someone that they know will be driving a company vehicle, then the employer has a responsibility to exercise reasonable due diligence in order to ensure that the employee hired is a safe driver.

At the very least, those employees that will be driving a commercial vehicle should prove to the employer that they have a good standing commercial driver’s license. Failure to check makes the employer liable for any accidents they may cause. However, many employers believe in additional precautions such as past driving record or a drug test.

Negligent supervision: Another way for an employer to be liable is negligent supervision. Employers need to have reasonable safety policies in place and ensure that their drivers will comply with these safety laws.

For example, if an employer has truck drivers working for them, the employer needs to ensure that all their drivers would follow the logging requirements and ensure that cargo is adequately weighted and loaded. If the employer has failed to check and ensure that employees were showing reasonable care and skill in doing their job, then that employer will be liable for negligence.

Vicarious liability

Vicarious liability does not necessarily mean that the employer was negligent in any way, but that the employer still played a part in the employee’s accident. The doctrine of law known as ‘vicarious liability’ states that the actions of an agent are the same as the actions of the principle directing that agent. The employee in this situation is the ‘principle’ and when the employer asks their employees or agents to do something on their behalf, it is essentially the same as the employer doing the action themselves.

For example, if you had sent an employee to the store to make copies for the office and they got into an accident on the way, then the employer could be liable. When the employee went out to make those copies, they were acting on the behalf of the employer.

However, if the employee had stopped to grab lunch on the way back and got into an accident while doing so, the employer is not liable. Even though making those copies was on the behalf of the employer, grabbing lunch was on no one’s behalf except for the employee’s.

Another exception would be if the employee had chose to run someone over on the way to make those copies. The employee may have been on the road on their employer’s behalf, but the employee completely made that terrible choice on their own.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

Employer Liability In A Work-Related Car Accident

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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