Companies whose employees drive an automobile or truck as part of their job are at risk of a lawsuit if the employee is in an automobile accident. One of the first questions a potential plaintiff will be asked by his lawyer is whether the other driver was driving a company vehicle or wearing a company uniform at the time of the accident. These questions are designed to find out whether there is a potential “deep pocket” to sue.
But companies are not automatically responsible if an employee is involved in an accident. Texas courts have developed rules to determine whether a business can be held liable for an employee’s negligence. Questions which the company’s lawyer must ask include:
- Was the employee really in the scope of his employment at the time of the accident? For instance, if a delivery driver has an accident while running a personal errand the company may not be liable.
- Did the employee have a history of other accidents or traffic citations, and if so did the company know about them?
- Was the accident really the employee’s fault, or was the other driver’s negligence the true cause?
- Was the other driver drinking or under the influence at the time of the accident?
- Was he texting or talking on the phone?
- Was he driving safely and wearing a seat belt?
- Has he had a history of other similar or suspicious claims?
Our firm has decades of experience defending companies against lawsuits brought for alleged employee negligence in driving company vehicles. These include:
- A no liability jury verdict in a lawsuit brought against a Houston television station after one of its employees was involved in a collision.
- A no liability jury verdict in a lawsuit brought against an Austin automobile dealership, for allegations that it negligently permitted a customer to perform a test drive.
Ten Ways Your Business Can Avoid Personal Injury Lawsuits
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