Employees in a variety of different jobs operate vehicles as part of their work. For some people, driving is a key aspect of their daily duties. Those who operate semi-trucks, as well as delivery drivers and many others, have to drive every day for work. They may use either a vehicle owned by their employer or in their own when fulfilling certain job responsibilities.
Plenty of other professionals, including retail managers, human resources professionals, social workers, salespeople and repair professionals drive during working hours periodically as part of their employment activities. They will generally receive pay for their time at the wheel, unlike those simply commuting to or from business facilities for daily work.
Any of these workers might cause a collision with someone else while technically on the clock. Who is usually responsible for the expenses generated by motor vehicle collisions caused by someone driving as part of their work responsibilities?
Employers may have vicarious liability
Technically, every motorist is responsible for their own decisions at the wheel. However, there are certain rules that may pass liability on to other parties, including employers. Vicarious liability is the legal term for a scenario in which a third party has some degree of culpability for a situation in which it did not play a direct role.
A car crash caused by a worker would potentially generate vicarious liability for the company that employs them. The legal term “respondeat superior” means “let the master answer,” and it refers to the general liability that employers have for the misconduct and negligence of their workers while on the job. Companies have to accept liability for what workers do on the job. They are responsible for shoddy workmanship that leads to a defective product even if an individual worker made a mistake.
In a car crash scenario, company insurance policies or business resources may be available to plaintiffs seeking compensation after a collision. It doesn’t matter whether the person was in their own vehicle or a vehicle owned and maintained by the company. The rights of the people affected by a collision will depend in large part on whether the person at fault for the crash is on the clock or not.
Exploring the details surrounding a crash caused by someone driving for work may help people obtain rightful reimbursement for the expenses incurred because of a wreck in California. Seeking legal guidance if questions arise during this process is always an option.