Should you ever be involved in a personal injury accident, the parties that may be liable aren’t always apparent at first blush. For example, a common issue that presents itself in personal injury cases is an employer’s liability for an accident caused by an employee.
Generally, employers can be found liable for the actions caused by their employees if the employee was acting within the “scope of employment”. The scope of employment is defined by those actions that either have a reasonable relation to the employee’s job performance or are reasonably foreseeable by the employer. Of course, an employer will try to argue that the scope is much narrower than, in reality, it was, in order to avoid being held financially responsible for your injuries. An experienced injury lawyer will know how to handle these types of unfair situations.
Scope of employment examples
Some scenarios have long been considered within the ‘scope of employment’, such as:
• A waiter who spills an extremely hot drink on a dining customer;
• A pizza delivery man who causes an auto accident on the way to delivering an order;
• A salesperson who causes an auto accident while en route to a sales call (even if the salesperson was driving his or her personal vehicle at the time).
This list is not exhaustive. Discuss your situation with an experienced injury attorney.
Personal errands and business hours
Not surprisingly, things can get even more tricky when employees perform personal errands in between work-related tasks during business hours. While employees are generally not considered to be working within the scope of their employment while they commute to and from work, a number of scenarios have cast doubt as to when the work commute actually starts and stops as far as the law is concerned (i.e., Is the employee expected to use his or her personal vehicle to conduct business? Do they commute in a company owned vehicle? Was there a work-related activity or phone call that interrupted the commute drive?).
Courts have often decided scope of employment rulings based on very fact-intensive considerations, with no one factor being dispositive. If you are the victim of a personal injury accident, or a work employee who is involved in an accident, be sure to consult a qualified personal injury attorney for a proper evaluation of your case.
For more information, or to discuss your accident claim, contact injury attorney Barry P. Goldberg today.