The scope of employment-related activities on the job can be a real grey area for employers and employees. In the past, a worker injured while working at a company would generally fall under the heading of workplace injury. Now, however, employees can work just about anywhere.
This leaves the question of whether they were actually working when they were driving through traffic and got into a crash. Workers can be on their devices talking while driving or answering a text at a red light. This driving while distracted is the scourge of motor vehicle safety, and it has dangerous consequences for the employees and others involved in an accident. It can also be expensive for the employer.
What is the employer’s liability?
Depending on the policy, the are generally involved in a lawsuit for the damages because they have the deepest pockets. Common reasons for an employer to be liable include:
- The employee is driving a company car or work vehicle, even if they are off duty
- The employee is driving while conducting business via phone or text
Employers can educate workers
Employers need to have clear rules about work and driving. These should match all applicable federal, state and municipal laws. Some things to remember include:
- Louisiana has a statewide ban on the use of texting or reading-based digital communications while driving
- The use of a phone for talking or texting in a school zone during school hours is strictly prohibited
- Adhering to headlight laws if driving after dark, when visibility is reduced or windshield wipers are in use
The employer can also add some common sense measures as well, such as requiring the use of hands-free accessories while driving. Other rules could include requiring employees to pull off the road if they need to take or make a phone call.
It is always in the best interests of those companies with employees involved in a motor vehicle accident to speak with a personal injury attorney with experience handling these types of claims.