Employers whose workers drive negligently and cause accidents may be on the hook for any injuries that their employees cause.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you may be able to file a claim against the driver of the other car. But if that driver was in a company vehicle or on work business, you may also be able to sue his employer — which could mean the difference between your losses being fully and partially compensated.
Deciding if you will sue, when you will sue, and who you will sue is a difficult decision – one that is best made with the guidance of a skilled car accident attorney. The lawyers of the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker understand the complexities of car accident cases, including those involving company-owned cars or employees fulfilling a work-related task.
An Employer’s Responsibility
So when is an employer liable for an employee’s negligence while driving? There are many different situations in which an employer may be liable. The most obvious case where an employer is responsible for his employee’s actions occurs when an employee is specifically driving for work. This may happen when a worker is driving to a customer’s house in a company vehicle to fix an appliance or to install a product and gets into an accident. It could occur when a bus driver crashes while driving on an assigned route. In those situations, the employer will most likely be responsible for the employee’s negligence — and probably will have insurance coverage specifically for these situations.
But what if the employee is going to or from work instead of driving on a work-related task during the day? As a general rule, an employer is not responsible for an employee’s actions while he is driving or commuting to or from work. However, if the employer requires the worker to drive to and from work so that a car is available during the day for completing tasks related to the business, then the employer may be responsible. For example, if a person works in sales and is required to drive to work so that his car is available to make sales calls during the day, then an employer could be responsible for any accidents that result. An employer can either make an express demand that employees drive their own cars, or an implied demand (i.e., the employer does not state that an employee has to drive to work, but it would be impossible for the employee to do his job if he does not have a personal vehicle available during the day). In either situation, if the employee must drive to work in order to have his vehicle available for business during work hours, then the employer may be sued for any accidents that the employee has while commuting.
The question of who can be sued is just one of the many important topics that should be explored with a skilled car accident attorney. Your experienced attorney can analyze the facts of your case and determine if you can file a claim against the employer as well as the individual employee. In many cases, the employer’s commercial insurance policy limits will be much higher than the employee’s personal auto insurance policy limits — giving you a much greater chance of fully recovering for your losses.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will aggressively pursue your claim, including making sure that all responsible parties are named in the suit. We offer free initial consultations, and we never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.