Getting into a car accident is always a daunting scenario. You deal with shock, anger, denial, and worry — all at once. How could this happen? How much is it going to cost you? And, if you were driving your personal car on a work errand, you may also be wondering who’s going to be held liable for damages? Will they reimburse you for your losses?
Car Accident Liability in Florida
Every single person driving a motor vehicle in the State of Florida has a duty of care towards other motorists. If you breach that duty — by speeding, distracted driving, failing to yield, running a red light, or by breaking any other traffic laws — you will be responsible for damages you cause while driving. This applies regardless of whether you were driving your own vehicle during personal time or if you were on the road as part of your job duties.
If the accident was relatively minor, there is good news: Florida law requires every car insurance policy to provide Personal Injury Protection (PIP). These benefits cover 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages, up to $10,000, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. So you could file a claim with your own company and the other motorist could do the same. As long as your damages are $10,000 or less, that’s where you would get most of your recovery. The insurance company cannot raise the costs of your premium based on the claim unless you were at fault.
If the damages are more than $10,000 and you were the one who caused the accident — or the other party is claiming that you did — you’ll likely get sued for the additional expenses. By the same token, your employer could also be on the hook. The injured party can sue your company in attempts to hold you jointly liable. This maximizes their chances of recovery should a court believe their claims that you were at fault. This is called vicarious liability.
Vicarious Liability for Car Accidents in Florida
For your employer to be held vicariously liable for an accident, you must have gotten into the accident while acting within the scope of your employment. This means that you must have been driving as part of an act you were required to perform, and the accident occurred during your shift. This could include either regular job duties or, say, your employer asking you when you’re about to leave work to deliver a package — or documents — to a business partner or client.
It’s also important to note that if you deviate from the scope of employment — such as by running personal errands, taking care of responsibilities for a second employer, or committing an illegal act — your employer won’t be found liable for the accident. In simpler terms: if, at the time of the accident, you were doing something which benefits your employer’s interests, then yes, your employer could be held vicariously liable.
Call Us at Clark Law for a Consultation
There are many factors that affect the outcome of a case. If you got into a car accident while working, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. We’ll consider all circumstances to determine your best next step. We can also ensure that you receive proper compensation for any present as well as future medical expenses relating to your injuries.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.