Can an employer be sued if an employee causes an auto accident on the way to or from work? 29 Answers as of July 02, 2013

Can an employer be sued if an employee causes an auto accident on the way to or from work? She takes prescriptions that cause drowsiness and her doctors are unwilling to sign that she is okay to drive while taking these medications.

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Tucker Griffin Barnes, PC | Yvonne T. Griffin
Not based on these facts. Generally speaking, an employer is not responsible for an employee's coming from or going to work. Under the facts you present, the employer did nothing wrong. The employee chose to drive contrary to her doctors' instructions. The employee should have taken time off work, asked a co-worker, friend or relative for a ride to work, taken a taxi, etc. The employer is not responsible for the employee's bad decision.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 12/8/2011
Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
Yes there may be liability on the part of the employer. Ask your lawyer to evaluate your situation.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 12/8/2011
Buff & Chronister
Buff & Chronister | G. Scott Buff
As a general rule, an employer is not liable for the negligence of an employee driving to and from work. The employer can be held liable for the negligence of an employee if that employee causes and injury while in the scope and course of his or her employment. In other words, if the employee was working for the employer when the wreck occurred, the employer is on the hook for the damages. These agency issues can be complicated and they are fact sensitive. Therefore, you should consult a personal injury attorney to go through the specific facts of your situation.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 12/7/2011
Law Office of David Baum
Law Office of David Baum | David M. Baum
It is possible, but more detailed facts are needed to make a proper analysis.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/2/2013
Law Office of Joshua Pond | Joshua Pond
The answer is, yes, an employer can, but that doesn't mean they should or that they will be found liable. If the employee was acting in his or her official capacity and not on what's called a 'frolic,' then it is possible that the employer could be sued. It's important that the employer begin safeguarding his or her interest.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 12/7/2011
    Andrews & Sanders Law Office
    Andrews & Sanders Law Office | Richard A Sanders Jr
    The answer is it depends on alot ofother factors. Generally, an employer is not liable for an employee's actions going to and from work. However, if the employee isoperating the vehicle in a capacity as an employee and doing work for the company at the time of the accident then the employer could be liable. If the employer knows of the driver's condition and still has the employee operate a vehicle then the employercould be liable. You need to find out more details about what the employee was doing. Can you connect her conduct to work related activities, other than just driving to and from work.Find out how long the employee worked and if the employer should have known that the employee should not have been driving. Maybe both parties are negligent.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    Under New York State Workers compensation an employee cannot sue the employer if he is injured while at work, because he is entitled to workers compensation benefits. Since you stated that the accident happened on the way to work or home, the question arises is whether you were actually engaged in work functions when the accident occurred.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    No.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Consult with an employment attorney for specific legal advice regarding the potential liability of an employer for employees' action.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Only if she is driving a company car, or if she is in the course of her employment when the accident occurred not on the way to or from work, but driving as part of her employment.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
    An employer is only responsible for injuries that occur in the course of employment or for a vehicle owned or leased by the employer. Going to and from work is not considered employment.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Not unless they were in the course and scope of their employment, and merely going to and from work typically does not qualify.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    T. Mack Taylor LLC | Mack Taylor
    No, probably not; agency liability usually only applies when someone causes an injury while working for the agent.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    According to the case of BREEDLOVE v. STOUT, 104 Wn. App. 67 (2001), under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer is not vicariously liable for an employee's negligent act committed while commuting, i.e., while going to or coming from work, because commuting is not within the scope of employment.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Shaw Law Firm
    Shaw Law Firm | Steven L. Shaw
    Commuting, no. Driving somewhere for her employer, yes.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Employers are responsible for the negligent acts of employees while acting in the course and scope of their employment. Going to work or returning home from work are both generally considered to not be in the course and scope of employment. There are exceptions that are very fact-dependent however.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Broad Law Firm, LLC
    Broad Law Firm, LLC | Donald K. Broad
    In Indiana, an employer can only be sued when the employee is acting within the scope of his or her employment. Generally, commuting to and from work is not within that scope. You should consult an attorney in your area to be certain.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/17/2012
    Beaver Holt Sternlicht and Courie, P.A.
    Beaver Holt Sternlicht and Courie, P.A. | Mark A. Sternlicht
    Usually, an employee is not considered to be in the course and scope of employment while going to work or coming home from work. There might be specific facts that take your situation out of the usual rule, so you should consult an attorney who is experienced in car wreck cases.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
    Without more facts to try to determine if the employer has some liability, the answer is no. Unless there is a company car or some fact that leads to the conclusion that the employee is under the supervision of the employer, the general rule would be that the employee alone is responsible.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    No. Not unless she's driving a company car.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    If an employee was in the course of his or her employment on a "mission" for the employer, then the employer will be liable for the employee's actions. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Goodman & Goodman PA | Bruce Elliott Goodman
    The employer can be sued if the employee driver is in a vehicle provided by the employer or the use of the vehicle is consented to by the employer in the furtherance of the employer's business AND the employer had the right to control the employee's use of the vehicle. Also, if the employer provided the vehicle to the employee, but knew or had reason to know that the employee's use of the vehicle presented an unreasonable risk of harm to others due to reasons such as the employee's youth, inexperience, or other reasons, such as in this case prescription drug use. An employee driving to or from work in their own car would not create a risk of liability for the employer.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    If the company owns the vehicle, yes it can be sued by an injured person in an accident.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    The Torkzadeh Law Firm
    The Torkzadeh Law Firm | Reza Torkzadeh
    This is a complicated question that needs a close examination of the facts. There is a lot of case law having to do with the vicarious liability of employers and how it relates to the coming-and-going rule. I suggest you immediately speak with an attorney who can properly examine the facts of your specific case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/5/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The answer is maybe. And depends on what you mean by on the way to from work. If it is leaving from / going to the residence, it is probably not in the course and scope of her work. Must be in that category. See a PI attorney with more details.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    I would say the employer can be sued if the employee causes an accident and the employee is required or uses their own car for work. There is this "thing" called the going and coming rule that we see in workers' compensation cases and it holds that if the employee needs their car for work then they are covered under wc while traveling to or from work. So flip this on it's head and you get your answer. Now I can't say for sure that I would agree this is the outcome but I'd guess its pretty close.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    EJ Leizerman & Associates | Michael Leizerman
    In most circumstances, no. If this is a non-transportation related job (e.g. the employee works at the local hospital), there is no basis to hold the employer responsible. If this is transportation-related, such as bobtailing a tractor to pick up a trailer, there may be an argument against the employer. Also, if the employer owned or leased the car for the employee and knew that she had a medical condition that didn't permit her to drive, the employer may be sued for negligent entrustment.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Eftekhari Law Offices
    Eftekhari Law Offices | Ehsan Eftekhari
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/2/2013
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