Corporate Liability: When Employees Cause Traffic Accidents

May 15, 2017

When employees use company cars or trucks and then get into traffic accidents, what’s the corporate liability in that situation? In other words, is the employer liable, as well as the driver?

If you’ve been in an accident with someone driving an employer’s car, that’s the question you want answered – who’s liable when an employee causes a vehicular accident while they’re working?

The answer: the employer could be liable, but it usually depends on a couple of different factors. As a Houston personal injury law firm, Fears Nachawati has seen many different cases with this situation, and an employer is definitely liable under certain conditions.

When Are Employers Liable For Employees’ Accidents?

We’ll focus on two specific ways that an employer is liable for their employees’ vehicular accidents.

Employer Negligence

This type of negligence could come in a few different ways, so it’s important to understand how they affected the traffic accident.

First, was there negligent supervision of the employee? This can occur while the employee was driving or if there was a lack of training that employee in driving company vehicles.

Second, was the company negligent in their due diligence in finding out if the employee was qualified to drive the company’s vehicles? Did they check to see if he is considered a safe driver with a valid commercial driver’s license? Has the driver’s license been suspended?
Plus further precautions, like do their employees pass drug tests before they are hired? What about their past driving record? Are they asked to pass their employer’s own driving test?

Employers should have firm policies in place involving the use of their business vehicles, especially for their larger trucks and equipment.

A good Houston personal injury law firm will make one or several arguments for a person that was injured in a car accident with a work vehicle. They can sue for negligent hiring, negligent lending of a vehicle and even negligent maintenance of that vehicle.

Vicarious Liability

This concept is a little different because it doesn’t necessarily mean the employer was negligent in anything they specifically did. Vicarious liability refers to an employer being held responsible for the actions of their employees. If the vehicular accident occurred during the course of the driver’s employment, then the employer can assume vicarious liability.

“Vicarious liability” basically means that the actions of the employee is essentially the same as the actions of the employer, when the employer tells the employee to carry out a task, like driving, picking up or delivering something. However, the employee has to be in the act of doing something for the employer in order for this principle to be applied.

Fears Nachawati, a top Houston personal injury law firm, will help you figure out whether the employer or the employee is liable in your car accident. Give them a call at (713) 589-6958 to learn more.

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