Are You Liable For Your Employee's Commute?

Are You Liable For Your Employee’s Commute?

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Understanding The Law About Employee Commutes

You know that you could be held liable if you send your employee out to pick up lunch and he or she causes an accident. Did you know, though, that you could be held liable for an accident caused on your employee’s commute to or from work?

Generally, that is not the case. That is because generally, courts abide by the “going-and-coming rule,” which dictates that an employee’s transport to and from the workplace is not within the scope of employment. That means that issues arising on the commute are the responsibility of the employee, not the employer.

There is, however, an exception to that rule: the “required vehicle exception.” This states that the employer could be held liable if the employer requires the employee to use his or her personal vehicle for work in a way that benefits the employer (e.g. asking your employee to drive him or herself to an off-site meeting rather than providing transportation).

If you do require your employee to use his or her personal vehicle for work, the going-and-coming rule is usurped and the employee commute becomes part of your liability, provided that the employee does not significantly deviate from his or her direct path from work to home. Fortunately, that means that you will not be on the hook for a drive across the county.

If you were held liable for an accident caused by your employee’s traffic mishap, would your company be able to survive the financial blow? To ensure you have the right commercial insurance coverage to protect your business, contact Hoffman Brown Company. We are good at understanding employment law and can step in to ensure that your California business is not left exposed. For the right commercial insurance portfolio for your business, call our Sherman Oaks team today!

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