If your manager tells you to leave work early so you can drop off some business supplies to another location, and you injure someone in a serious car crash. Is your employer liable for the injuries you caused? Yes, more than likely your employer will be deemed liable for the actions caused by an employee using a personal vehicle while delivering business supplies.
Assume having a car is an employment requirement as a condition of being hired. You drive from place to place dropping and delivering business goods. Is your employer liable for any injuries incurred while driving your car for that business? Yes.
If you end up injuring yourself while on the job, your employer will likely be liable for injuries and damages under the theory of vicarious liability. The only question will arise, were you working at the time of the accident?
What is Vicarious Liability?
Respondeat superior is a Latin term which means “Let the superior answer.” It is usually referred to as vicarious liability and applies in situations when one person is liable for the damages caused by the negligence of another. It is the legal principle under which employers are responsible for negligence acts of their employees. This includes employers being responsible for car accidents caused by the negligence of employees at a time when employees are using their personal automobiles for business purposes.
The legal limitations provide that the use of his or her vehicle must have been within the scope of the employee’s employment at the time of the accident. Some of the questions that arise in such accidents are as followed:
What its really going to come down to is where you actually “working” when you were involved in an accident?
Were you performing work within the scope of your employment at the time of the damage or accident?
If you agree to your employer’s request to drop off business supplies to another store and you are involved in a serious car crash along the way, you are most likely acting within the scope of employment since your employer is benefiting from your action of taking the business supplies to the other store in your personal car. You on the job. But, if you dropped off the business supplies, stopped for a pack of smokes on your way home when you have an accident, driving home after you picked up cigarettes had no benefit to your employer so you were no longer “working” and your employer will not be liable.
Personal vehicle insurance policies may or may not insure car owners for business use of their vehicles with one exception referred to as the livery exception. This means there is no insurance coverage if you use your car to transport goods or people in exchange for money. This applies to the use of a car like a taxi or delivery service. Be sure to check with your employer about coverage before agreeing to your personal car as a business purpose.