I’ve Been Involved in an Accident With a Company Vehicle
You’ve been involved in an accident with another driver. You’ve sustained injuries and talked to the driver, and now you know that the person was an employee ‘on the job’ when your accident occurred. You know that, in many cases of car accidents, you can bring a claim against a driver when they have acted negligently and caused you injury. But what happens if the driver was in the scope of employment when the accident occurred? Could the company be liable for the accident caused by their worker?
When an Employer Has Acted Negligently
You may be surprised to find that, in some of these cases, the employer has actually acted negligently and could owe you compensation for your injuries. Outright negligence by an employer occurs in these situations when an employer negligently hired somebody for a job or failed to supervise them. When a company hires somebody and is under the impression that they will be driving the company vehicle, they must ensure that the driver is a safe one. This means that they have the proper licensing to drive the vehicle and that they have checked their background to ensure that they have no prior tickets, such as ones for reckless driving.
An employer can sometimes negligently supervise another driver when they fail to keep up with logs and laws. Drivers are supposed to follow logging requirements when it comes to how long they spend on the road, as well as if cargo is loaded correctly. And if the driver is not abiding by safety laws, this could come back to the employer because they did not ensure that their drivers are using reasonable care.
What is Vicarious Liability?
Vicarious liability is a doctrine that says that the actions of the employee are basically the actions of the employer. This means that, if a driver was in their scope of employment, they were working under their employer and so the employer could be held liable for their actions. Say that an employee is on their way to making a delivery. If they get into an accident, they were in the scope of employment, and vicarious liability could apply. The same type of cases can occur outside of work when a family member loans another family member a vehicle, and they get into an accident and injure another person.
However, the same does not apply when the driver was not working within work hours. Let’s say that the employee decides to take the work truck out for a spin after they have clocked out at work. They aren’t running any errands on behalf of their boss and, while they are out and about, they cause an accident and you sustain injuries. Since they were not working at the time, the employer would not be liable and the driver would instead be liable for your accident. As you can see, these cases can be very complex as there are many parties to identify.
Have you been injured in an accident involving an employee and you wonder how you will gain the compensation you deserve in your case? At the Los Angeles Injury Group, we understand the ins and outs of accident case litigation and can help you in your time of need. Give us a call today to get started on your case at 310-954-7248.