If a driver of an automobile hits you in Florida and he is working when it happens, his employer may also be liable.
You still have a case against the driver and other parties who you may be able to sue.
When is an employer liable if its employee’s carelessness caused a crash?
If an employee is within the scope of employment, an employer is liable for the employee’s negligence.
Tania works for the Children’s Home Society. While Tania is driving her personal car while she is on the job, she runs a red light and crashes into Jenny. The accident happens in Miami, Florida.
Since Tania is in the scope of his employment, the Children’s Home Society is liable. They owe Jenny for any her damages.
The settlement is before deduction for attorney’s fees and expenses. Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.
When isn’t an employer liable if its employee’s carelessness caused a crash?
An employee driving to or from work is not within the scope of employment so as to impose liability on the employer. An employer is not liable in this situation.
This is true even though the car driven by the employee is used in his work and partly maintained by the employer. Foremost Dairies, Inc. of the South v. Godwin, 158 Fla. 245, 26 So.2d 773 (1946).
An employer may:
- Keep the car in repair and pay for the licenses, tires, and fuel.
- Make contributions for its maintenance.
This still doesn’t make the employer liable for the employee’s acts if it occurs outside the scope of his employment.
Is An Employer Liable If An Employee Gets Into a Crash While Using His Own Car Before Work But After Buying Work Supplies or Gas?
Is an employer liable if an employee is driving a vehicle that the employer owns?
Yes. An employer is liable for all compensatory damages resulting from the acts of its employee in operating the company’s motor vehicle by reason of the dangerous instrumentality doctrine.
Learn more about a vehicle owner’s liability for letting someone use the car.
Is an employer vicariously liable for an employee’s negligence in mishandling the car keys to his own car, thereby allowing a thief to steal the car and injure a third party?
In Florida, no. This is true even if the employee leaves the keys to his own car in his ignition during work hours. Allan v. Graf, 43 So. 3d 151 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2010.
What types of damages can you get compensation for if an employee of a company caused your crash?
If the employee’s carelessness caused your injury, you may be entitled to money for your:
- Diminished Value of Your Vehicle
- Rental Car
- Past Lost Income
- Future lost income reduced to present value
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Replacement value of lost personal property (e.g. damage to your car, broken glasses, watch, etc.)
- Funeral expenses
- Reimbursement for mileage to and from medical appointments
- Past Pain and suffering
- Future Pain and Suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.
- Punitive Damages (in rare cases)
Will a restaurant’s insurance policy cover its delivery drivers in Florida?
Maybe not. You have to look at the restaurant’s insurance policy.
Let’s look at an actual case in Tampa, Florida federal court.
Wrongful Death Case against Hungry Howies
Betty Kay Czajkowski, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Russel Shane Czajkowski, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Hungry Howies Pizza.
The lawsuit claimed that Thomas Heller, in the course of his employment with Hungry Howies, negligently struck and killed Russel Shane Czajkowski with his pizza delivery vehicle.
Nationwide Insurance Company, and Allied Property and Casualty Insurance Company, insured Hungry Howies.
Hungry Howies Insurance Contract Had an Exclusion
Hungry Howies’ insurance agreements, contained an “exclusions” provision that states:
“This insurance, including any duty we have to defend `suits’, does not apply to:
g. Aircraft, Auto Or Watercraft
Bodily injury or property damage arising out of the ownership, maintenance, use or entrustment to others of any aircraft, `auto’ or watercraft owned or operated by or rented or loaned to any insured. Use includes operation and `loading or unloading.’
This exclusion applies even if the claims allege negligence or other wrongdoing in the supervision, hiring, employment, training or monitoring of others by an insured, if the `occurrence’ which cause the `bodily injury’ or `property damage’ involved the ownership, maintenance, use or entrustment to others of any aircraft, `auto’ or watercraft that is owned or operated by or rented or loaned to any insured.”
The agreement defines “Auto” as “a land motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer designed for travel on public roads, including any attached machinery or equipment.”
Nationwide and Allied claimed that the vehicle that Heller struck Czajkowski is an “Auto” as defined by the agreement and that the wrongful death lawsuit seeks damages for bodily injury.
The court agreed that Nationwide and Allied’s insurance policies didn’t cover Hungry Howies for this case. The insurance companies didn’t have to pay any compensation related to the wrongful death case.
This may have left the decedent’s family without a defendant who could pay the damages in the wrongful death case. The judge issued his ruling on October 28, 2015.
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