Many employers make company cars available for their workers, but does this mean that employers are responsible for how those employees drive? In a number of recent court decisions across the country, judges have held employers partly liable in cases where employees have caused distracted driving accidents while driving company cars on company time. In one Florida case, a woman was killed when a driver rear-ended the car because he was distracted. The employer of the man was ordered to pay $21.6 million in the case because the man was driving on company time. In an Arkansas judgment, an employer was forced to pay $16.1 million after one of its lumber salesmen caused a car accident that caused permanent injury.
The reality is that many employers now require employees to be available around the clock – and that means being available while the employee is driving. In some cases, employees are provided with company cars and company phones and may feel that they need to answer any work-related texts or phone calls as they comes in.
Experts recommend that employers should have written policies in place about cellphone use. These policies should clearly outline the dangers of using cell phones while driving and should provide clear directives to employees about what they should do if they are driving while expecting a work-related call or text.
These policies can, and in fact, should extend beyond the state regulations regarding mobile phone use. For example, in Florida, texting while driving is not prohibited but employers may still be held liable if an employee causes a Fort Lauderdale truck accident while texting. In situations where an employee on the clock causes a Fort Lauderdale car accident or traffic accident while distracted, the employee may still be held liable for reckless driving and the employer may be held liable for contributing to that negligence, even if texting while driving is technically legal in Florida.
Employers may be held liable if a distracted employee causes a Fort Lauderdale traffic accident while using a personal car for work use, while using a company car, or while using any company-provided device while driving. For this reason, it is important for employers to institute strict rules and to offer training to all employees about safe use of mobile devices. Even employees who do not drive in a company car regularly or do not drive for the company may get into an accident in which the business is partly liable.
If you have been injured in a Fort Lauderdale car accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group to schedule a no-cost, no obligation case evaluation. The Flaxman Law Group is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-FLAXMAN (1-866-352-9626) or through an online contact form on the law firm website. The Flaxman Law Group legal team has already recovered over $25 million dollars on behalf of thousands of Florida personal injury and car accident victims. As a full-service law firm, the Flaxman Law Group has access to many resources to take care of a legal claim from start to finish. Contact the law firm today to find out what options you have and what rights are pertinent in your case.