Many people think the only person liable in an automobile accident is the person operating the vehicle. In reality, there are many situations where other parties can be held liable for an incident.
One specific situation is when a person is in an automobile accident while performing their work duties or as directed by their employer. In such cases, the employer could be held liable for the accident.
This employer liability can be broken down in two ways: Negligence and vicarious liability.
An employer’s negligence can be traced all the way back to the hiring of an employee whose job includes driving a company vehicle. Knowing they will be driving means the employer must complete their due diligence and make sure the employee is a safe driver.
Whether a commercial driver or regular driver, employers should make an effort to hire someone in good standing and not someone with a suspended license. Checking driver records and administering drug testing are ways to make sure employees are up to par for the job.
Employers can also be found liable in terms of their supervision of the employee who ended up in an automobile accident. This is especially true for commercial drivers that must follow federal and state laws and requirements in regard to things like logging requirements and cargo weight and load.
Failure on the part of the employer to supervise and make sure these requirements and laws are being met by the employee can be deemed negligent. The employer must make sure the employee is exercising reasonable care and skill in completing the tasks of the job.
Now, when it comes to vicarious liability in a workplace context, it means an employer can be liable for the acts or omissions of its employees, given it can be proved they happened during their time of employment.
This translates to your employer asking you to complete a task that requires driving, liking picking up items from a sister-store to be put in stock at your own store. If you get into an accident on the way, your employer can be held responsible.
However, if you choose to do something else along the way, like stop for a snack at a convenient store, and you get into an accident then your employer will not be held liable. This is also the case if you decide to act bad intentionally.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident and feel employer liability is involved, then you should contact an experienced attorney like those at Salter Ferguson, LLC. Headquartered in Birmingham, the attorneys at the law office of Salter Ferguson, LLC, have the expertise to successfully carry out your case.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.