Legal Blog

Collisions With Company Vehicles: Who is Liable for the Damages?

Attorney David I. Fuchs

Author

Attorney David I. Fuchs

Date

Jul. 1, 2016

Category

Car Accident Law

Accidents happen on a daily basis in Ft. Lauderdale and throughout Florida. But have you ever wondered who would be held responsible if you are hit by someone driving a UPS truck? Or what if you were hit by the pizza delivery person? In Florida, if the vehicle driver collides with you while he or she is working, that driver’s employer might also be held legally responsible. Let’s consider the following.

When Are Employers Not Liable for Accidents Caused by Their Employees?

Generally, employers will not be held liable for accidents caused by their employees if the employees are traveling to or from work, as that travel is not deemed to be within the scope of employment for purposes of holding an employer liable. This holds true even when the vehicle used by the employee is used for work but partially maintained by the employer (meaning the employer pays for related licenses, tires, gas and contributes to maintenance costs).

What if the Automobile Involved in the Collision is Owned by the Employer? Can the Employer Be Held Liable for the Employee’s Accident?

Typically, yes. Employers can be held liable for related compensatory damages stemming from an employee’s acts while operating the company vehicle. Under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine, the individual who causes a collision is not always the only individual who can be held responsible for the damages incurred. Courts can impose vicarious liability to those who permit others to operate their automobiles.

When Are Employers Liable for Their Employees’ Carelessness That Results in a Collision?

Whenever an employee is operating a motor vehicle while within the scope of his or her employment, the employer can be held liable for the employee’s negligent acts — even if the employee is in his or her own vehicle.

Can Employers Be Held Vicariously Liable for an Employee’s Failure to Properly Handle the Keys to His Own Automobile, Such That the Vehicle is Stolen and the Thief Injures Someone?

Under Florida law, no, the employer would not be vicariously liable in this scenario. This remains true even in cases where the employee leaves the keys to the vehicle in the ignition during business hours.

What Compensation Can I Expect to Receive if a Company Employee Causes a Collision?

If an employee’s negligence or carelessness results in your accident-related injuries, you might be entitled to receive compensation for a number of things, including:

  • Past and future lost income
  • Past and future medical costs
  • The diminished value of your automobile
  • The costs associated with renting a car
  • Reimbursement for mileage both to and from doctor’s appointments
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • The replacement value for any personal property losses
  • Mental anguish
  • Punitive damages (in rare instances)

Let Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer David I. Fuchs Help

Dealing with the aftermath of an automobile crash can be difficult. That is why we encourage accident victims to seek legal guidance from a skilled car accident attorney who will help ensure that a thorough and proper investigation is done in order to hold all potential parties liable under the law.

If you believe your accident may involve employer liability issues, contact David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. right away to discuss the details.