Is An Employer Liable For Employee Car Accidents?

An employer is generally responsible for the harm their employee does to others.  This is limited to harm that is accidental and “within the scope of employment.”  So if, for example, the pizza delivery person, en-route to a delivery, knocks over a pedestrian.  The pizza place is liable, as well as their employee, because it was “within the course of his employment” to be delivering pizza.  This is called “vicarious liability,” and the best way to know if it applies to a specific situation is to consult with an Brooklyn Car Accident Attorney.

If the employee decided to abscond with the pizza and head for Canada, the pizza shop would not be liable for his “rogue” action.  Employer’s responsibility for the actions of their employees includes car accidents, but only when the employee is doing their job. The employer must be “deriving some benefit” from the actions of the employee.  This would also exclude accidents that occurred when an employee is one their way home or on a lunch break.  Law is always based on the specific facts at hand, so the best way if you are responsible is to contact a Queens car accident attorney to discuss your case.

The employer might still be responsible for an accident caused by their rogue employee, driving their pizza to Canada, but not with the theory of vicarious liability.  If the employee was driving the company car, registered and insured with the company as the owner, they would be responsible as the owner of the vehicle.  This concept applies to all car accidents, not just employer / employee situations.  For example, if you are driving your friend’s car and cause an accident, both you and your friend are liable.  Car owners may also be liable for any accidents that arise from negligence when the vehicle is operated.

The reason for attributing liability to the employer for accidents caused by an employee is “public policy based.”  The theory is that if employers are responsible, they are more likely to engage is more safety training and to provide more safety devices. Employers being responsible also encourages them to carefully screen and background check their employees.  For example, it might be in the interest of an ambulance company to hire a more experienced driver, and would with a better driving record, as this employee is less likely to have an accident.

Of course, just because your employee has an accident while on the job, and/or while driving a company car, doesn’t automatically make the employer liable.  It must first be proven that the accident was actually caused by the employee’s negligence.  If the employee was stopped at a red light and hit in the rear by another vehicle, it is unlikely that negligence on the part of the employee or employer would be attributed.  There are often situations where both drivers claim that they had the green light at an intersection, and this is when it’s best to call the best Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and Bronx Car Accident Attorney to help you prove what actually happened!

Car Accidents are serious matters due to the serious injuries that can arise and the financial consequences of liability.  It is always wise to make sure that you are adequately insured, but when tragedy does strike, don’t risk your financial future with fly by night attorneys that brag and make false promises.  Seek the help of a reputable personal injury attorney.  Wittenstein & Wittenstein has been providing excellent services to clients in New York City, Long Island and Westchester for over 60 years.  Don’t waste your time with imposters, call Wittenstein & Wittenstein first.

 

 

2019-04-16T15:14:23+00:00By |0 Comments

About the Author:

Senior Partner Ms. Wittenstein began working at the firm in 1985 as a managing paralegal, learning all the practices and procedures of the firm from Mr. Wittenstein and the staff. From 1995-1998, she attended CUNY Law School where she made a mark as a teaching assistant for Civil Rights leader Haywood Burns. She founded a Human Rights Delegation to Haiti and studied Constitutional Law with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Working at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commision (EEOC), she learned a great deal about Employment Discrimination matters. She brought her knowledge of the Personal Injury practice and her passion for Civil Rights to the firm when she was admitted to the Bar in 1999. In 2000, she became a partner and the firm name was changed to Wittenstein & Wittenstein, Esqs. PC.

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