When is an employer for a personal injury accident caused by an employee? Under California law, employers can generally 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.
Some examples of being ‘within the scope of employment’ include:
- A waiter who spills an extremely hot, scalding drink on a dinning customer;
- A pizza delivery man causing an accident on the way to delivering an order;
- A salesperson who causes an accident while making a sales call on a potential customer (even if the salesperson was driving his or her personal vehicle at the time).
This means that if you were injured by a negligent or reckless driver who was ‘on the clock’, you might be able to recover financial damages from the driver as well as the employer, meaning potentially deeper pockets. Talk to a skilled Los Angeles car accident attorney to discuss your ability to receive financial compensation for the injuries you suffered.
Be warned that things can get complicated when an employee performs personal errands that are sandwiched between work-related tasks during business hours. While the California Appeals Court has ruled that an employee is generally not working within the scope of employment when driving home for lunch in his or her own car, the court also found that an insurance sales agent employee was acting within the scope of her employment when she stopped off for yogurt on her way home, immediately after she dropped off a number of co-workers to a work-related event. In other words, while workers are usually not considered to be working within the scope of their employment while they commute to and from work in their own vehicles, a number of scenarios can cast doubt as to when the work commute actually starts and stops in terms of legal liability.
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 in Los Angeles for a proper evaluation of your case.
The trial attorneys at BIKLAW understand the law and your rights. Contact them today.