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Are Employers Liable for Employee Car Accidents?

Posted on: November 17th, 2017 No Comments

Employee driving a company carPeople in many occupations drive as part of their jobs on a daily basis. Whether making deliveries, traveling to meet with clients, or visiting various service locations, employees – like all motorists – are expected to drive carefully and responsibly, so as not to cause harm to others.

But if an employee acts negligently or is involved in an accident while driving to complete duties associated with their job, it may be the employer who is held responsible.

If you drive for your job, you run a company that includes employees who drive while on the job, or you’ve been involved in an accident with someone who was driving for work, read on to find out what to expect when employees are involved in car accidents during the scope of their employment. 

Car Accidents While On The Job – Who’s Liable?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as there are many scenarios that can occur and key details will impact who is ultimately held liable for the accident – the employer or the driver himself.

As a result, in automobile litigation, it is very important to promptly determine the identity of the other driver, the owner of the vehicle they were driving, and whether they were driving it in the “scope of their employment.” These details will help to determine who should be held responsible.

Though there are exceptions, here are some general guidelines:

When Are Employers Held Responsible for Employee Car Accidents?

In general, if an employee is driving a company-owned vehicle, the employer will ultimately be responsible for the employee’s negligent actions, including negligent operation of the company vehicle. This typically requires proof that the employee has “consent and permission” to use the company vehicle, and that it was being used for employment-related business at the time of the accident.

If such proof is established, the employer should ultimately be held responsible for the employee’s negligence.

In some circumstances, an employer can even be liable while the employee is operating their own personal vehicle, if they were traveling or conducting business at the request and direction of their employer, and with the employer’s knowledge that they would be using their own vehicle.

When Are Employers NOT Held Responsible for Employee Car Accidents That Happen On The Job?

If an accident occurs while an employee is using a company vehicle to run a personal errand, then the use of the vehicle might not be considered to be within the scope of their employment, and employer liability might not apply.

Additionally, if an employee is operating his own personal vehicle traveling at the request of their employer, but the accident occurs outside of working hours (for instance, while an employee is commuting to and from home), the employer typically won’t be held responsible.

Employee Car Accidents: Understanding Your Rights

As previously mentioned, numerous exceptions to these rules exist under case law, and it can be very difficult to establish exactly who is liable when an accident involving an employee performing his job duties does occur. However, if you’ve been involved in an accident as an employee or with an employee who was on the job, it is critical to promptly explore these issues, as that may open additional possible areas of insurance coverage from an employer.

Wondering who should be held liable for an accident you were recently involved in? We can help you understand your rights.

At Maynard, O’Connor, Smith & Catalinotto, our award winning personal injury attorneys have handled hundreds of personal injury cases in Albany, Saugerties, Johnstown and throughout the surrounding communities. We have decades of experience handling car accident cases of all kinds, including those involving employees on the job.

We can help you determine if you’re entitled to compensation, and help you to pursue that compensation from the party responsible for the accident.

Understand your rights and get the help you need after you’ve been injured in a car accident. Give us a call today at (800) 721-3553 or contact us online to schedule a free case review with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.

Learn More About Pursuing a Personal Injury Case Following a Car Accident:

Timeline of a Personal Injury Case: Find out how long it will take to pursue a personal injury case and get the compensation you deserve after you’ve been seriously injured.

How to Choose The Right Personal Injury Lawyer: Wondering what to look for in a personal injury attorney? Read our tips for finding a lawyer who can guide you through this difficult time in your life and help you obtain the compensation you’re entitled to.

How to Decide If It’s Time To Bring a Lawsuit: Thinking about moving forward with a lawsuit? Check out this list of important things to do and consider so you’re sure you are making the right choice for you.

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