is a free resource and guide for those who have suffered an injury caused by a traffic accident and don’t how to receive compensation.



employer liability

Employer Liability

Your employer is usually responsible if you get into a traffic accident during the course of your duties for work. There are a few exceptions, but you will usually escape personal liability for any traffic injury that you cause while performing your work duties. For this reason, your employer probably carries insurance to pay for your injuries and any auto injury you cause to others involved in the accident.

But the insurers could make the path to obtaining auto accident compensation difficult. They may even try to push liability onto you.

Today, we’ll explore employer liability for auto accidents caused by employees.

Vicarious Liability for an Auto Accident

Vicarious liability is a type of liability that falls on a third party when someone causes an accident. Vicarious liability can arise in a few relationships, including:

  • Parent-child
  • Employer-employee
  • Guardian-ward

In these situations, an accident caused by the child, employee, or ward will result in liability for the parent, employer, or guardian, respectively. This might not seem fair. But in these relationships, the parent, employer, and guardian have control over — and responsibility for — their child, employee, or ward. As a result, they accept legal liability for their actions.

Limits on Employer Liability for a Traffic Accident

Employer liability only covers actions taken by employees in the scope and course of employment. “Scope” refers to your job duties. If driving does not fall within your job duties, your employer does not have liability for a traffic accident you cause during work.

This standard does not only apply to workers hired as drivers. If your employer tasks you with running an errand for the business, driving becomes one of your job duties. 

For example, if the copier runs out of paper and your boss sends you to the office supply store for more, your employer probably has liability for any auto accident you cause during the trip.

“Course” refers to the purpose of your trip. If you cause a traffic accident while you drive to lunch, liability for the accident will fall on you — rather than your employer — because the purpose of the trip was personal. 

But if you cause an auto accident while you drive to pick up lunch for the office for a lunch meeting, liability for the accident could fall on your employer because the purpose of the trip was for business.

This logic also applies to side trips that you take while on the job. If you work as a delivery driver and you stop at the dry cleaners to pick up your laundry, liability for a motor vehicle accident you cause on your side trip would fall on you.

Business Liability Insurance

Your employer probably carries general business liability insurance. It may also carry commercial auto insurance if it employs drivers. After an accident, an accident attorney will file a claim with your employer’s insurer on behalf of an accident victim.

But insurers do not like to pay out for claims. Your employer’s insurer might deny the victim’s claim for auto accident compensation by claiming that you, rather than the employer, bear responsibility for the motor vehicle accident. 

The insurer might assert that the accident happened on an unauthorized side trip or that the employer never authorized you to drive as part of your job.

If the victim’s traffic injury resulted from an accident that occurred during the scope and course of your employment, your employer’s insurer will eventually pay a settlement or damage award. This means that you and your personal insurer will not need to pay anything to the accident victim.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Except for employers in Texas, businesses must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance covers your injuries when you sustain injuries in a work-related accident.

After an on-the-job car accident, you will notify your employer of your traffic injury. The employer will contact the workers’ comp insurer.

The workers’ comp insurer can raise the same issues as the business liability insurer. Specifically, if driving did not fall within the scope and course of your job duties, the workers’ comp insurer does not need to pay medical or wage benefits to you. As a result, it could deny your claim, asserting that your injuries were not job-related.

You and your injury lawyer will need to show that your accident occurred while you performed your job duties. If you can overcome the claim denial, you will receive full medical benefits and partial wage replacement until you can return to work.

Establishing Employer Liability for an Auto Injury

Proving that your employer bears responsibility for an accident will require evidence that your accident occurred while you were on the job. Emails, text messages, and witness statements could establish that driving fell within your job duties and that your accident happened while on company business.

To discuss whether your employer might be liable for your on-the-job car accident, work with an experienced injury lawyer. We can help you partner with an experienced legal professional. Simply complete our initial consultation form or give us a call today!

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