When an employer’s drivers cause a car accident because they’re driving while distracted by their job may be liable for covering the damages of the people who are injured. Unfortunately, these types of accidents are growing more common in Florida today. In fact, according to AAA distracted drivers cause 3,142 deaths a year in America. This is an increase of 10% over the prior year. About 258 of these deaths occurred in Florida. Many believe that this number has been underreported since you can’t easily identify every distraction.
Traffic safety experts are concerned about the growing number of crashes. They place much of the blame on drivers who aren’t paying attention. One NBC News report suggested that cognitive overload is one of the main issues drivers are facing today. However, it’s still somewhat challenging to determine who’s legally liable. This is because it depends on whether the driver was acting in the course and scope of their employment when the car accident occurred.
Why Employers Are Responsible for Car Accidents Involving Distracted Drivers
There is a legal document that’s known as “respondeat superior.” This document makes it so that employers are held legally responsible for the actions of their negligent employees which result in injuries to other people. Previously when it came to an employee getting into a car accident this meant that they could be sued. It didn’t matter if this was a professional driver (e.g. delivery drivers, taxi drivers, truckers) or merely someone that was running an errand for their job or traveling between different job sites.
With today’s expanding technology many people are conducting business (e.g. video conferencing, responding to work-related texts, talking to clients on the phone, writing a quick email) while they’re driving. This technically means that they’re acting in the course and scope of employment while operating a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, these actions can be deadly but this doesn’t mean that the employer is necessarily responsible legally. In fact, if a company has a policy prohibiting these behaviors, they aren’t responsible. Nevertheless, many companies don’t have such policies and are thus legally responsible. To determine whether this is true for your company you should speak with an attorney right after you’ve been in a car accident. They’ll help you gather important, time-sensitive information that’s critical for your claim.
There are numerous factors that Florida courts take into consideration when they’re trying to determine the scope of an employer’s liability. When an employee is driving a work vehicle (even if they aren’t working) the employer may be liable for the crash. This is especially true if the employee has been engaging in work-related activities when the crash occurred.
Working with an Attorney After a Crash
When you get into a car accident due to a distracted driver you may suffer from a serious, lifelong injury. If this happens to you, reach out to Blenner Law Group in St Petersburg, Palm Harbor, and Pinellas County. They’ll help you seek full compensation for the careless driver who caused your injuries. This starts with requesting cell phone records being subpoenaed in order to determine who the driver was on the phone with at the time the accident occurred. The attorneys will also look at what type of business you own or work for and whether there’s a policy in place to curb distracted driving. Additionally, whether an employer has provided driver’s training or ensured that their drivers have a safe driver’s record will also be taken into consideration. All of these factors play an important role in determining who caused the negligence and thus who’s at fault and thus responsible for the accident. These are things that are best left in the hands of experienced attorneys like ours.
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