In most cases, you can’t sue a negligent driver’s employer if the employee was driving his own car to work.
However, in some situations, an employer may be liable for an employee’s negligent driving even if the employee is driving his own vehicle to work.
Let’s look at a past case that talks about whether you can sue an employer in this circumstance. It’s not my case. It’s an older case, but it is still good law.
In Standley v. Johnson, 276 So. 2d 77 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 1st Dist. 1973, Johnson had worked for Mr. White for 40 years or so doing odd jobs and yard work around White’s nursery.
Johnson was driving his own truck. He collided with the car driven by Mrs. Faye Standley.
On the morning of the accident instead of reporting for work at the usual time, Johnson had gone to a nearby drugstore to get some medicine for his wife.
After getting the medicine, he went to a gas station across the street from the drugstore and purchased a gallon can of gas for use in the lawn mower at the nursery.
Johnson Dropped the Medicine Off at His Home
Johnson then dropped the medicine off at his home and headed to work, stopping at another gas station to purchase gas for his truck.
As Johnson pulled out of this second service station, he turned into the oncoming traffic, striking Mrs. Standley’s car.
Part of Johnson’s work at the nursery was keeping the lawn mower filled with gas and his truck was used in his work for hauling dirt and fertilizer.
At the time of the accident, Johnson also had some of Mr. White’s tools in his truck which he had carried home that weekend.
The appeals court said that in this case Johnson was doing more than merely driving to work.
He had evidence that he had been instructed to keep the lawn mower filled with gas and was in fact transporting gas to the nursery as part of his job and for the benefit of his employer.
The appeals court said Johnson had completed his errand with the medicine for his wife and gone back to the business of getting himself and his employer’s gas to work.
The fact that he completed his personal errand (dropping off the medicine), before the crash, seemed to be important to finding liability on the employer. The case is
Johnson was driving his own truck, so he is liable for Standley’s wrongful death.
I assume the Standley’s personal representative sued Johnson’s employer because Johnson was uninsured or underinsured.
I believe that the crash occurred in North Florida.
Hurt from a Car Accident or Other Accident in Florida?
Call me now at (888) 594-3577 to find out for FREE if we can represent you. We answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.