can an employer be liable for employee drinking and driving?

Can an Employer Be Liable for Their Employee Drinking and Driving?

Even after several decades of high-profile public awareness campaigns, drunk driving is still a major problem in the United States. And a substantial amount of traffic fatalities in Alabama are directly related to impaired driving. If you or someone you love has been in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, it’s time to learn about your rights and figure out how you can pursue compensation.

Depending on the details of your accident, you may be able to seek compensation from multiple parties. If the driver was working at the time of the crash, for example, their employer could even be responsible for your losses.

Get the help you need with your personal injury claim. Call Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley now to set up a consultation. Reach our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483 or our Chatom office at 251-847-3115.

Ownership of the Vehicle

One aspect of the crash is the other driver’s vehicle and who owns it. If the crash occurred in a company vehicle, that sends up some red flags. Your attorney may then be able to find out if they were on the clock at the time of the accident, if their employer willingly let them take it while they were impaired, and if the employer put you at unnecessary risk.

The Driver’s Scope of Employment

One of the most important factors in a drunk driving accident involving an employee is their scope of employment. If the employee was working within the normal scope of their job when they crashed, their employer may very well be liable for damage caused by the employee. An individual’s “normal scope of employment” can be difficult to determine and there is some gray area in this definition. That’s why it’s important to discuss this with your Bay Minette car accident attorney.

Understanding when an employer may be liable can help you figure out if this applies to your case. Consider, for example, a commercial truck driver. If they were driving drunk while on a long-haul job, their employer is likely partially or completely liable for the accident.

If a delivery driver for a restaurant (as opposed to an independent contractor for a delivery service) causes a crash while impaired, the restaurant may have some liability. The same may be true if an employee regularly drives to multiple job sites in the course of their work and causes an accident while doing so.

The lines are a bit more blurred if an employee causes a crash after attending a company-sponsored event. For example, if they were at a training event or business trip, they could be liable for causing a crash on the way to their home or hotel. This may depend on whether or not their employer provided them with the alcohol. If they were attending an optional work party, it is much less likely that the employer would be liable.

If an employee causes a crash outside their scope of employment, the employer is unlikely to be liable. Consider an office employee who leaves work during the day to drink at a local bar. On their way back to work, they cause a crash. Since they were not operating in their scope of employment at the time and their behavior was likely unauthorized, the employer would likely not be found liable.

Seeking Damages After a Crash

As you can see, there are many factors at play in a Bay Minette drunk driving crash. It’s impossible to know your options and the best path forward for you without talking to a car accident attorney in southwest Alabama. Your attorney can use the details of your case to determine liability and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Contact Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley Today

Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers is here to help you with your car accident claim. We understand how overwhelmed and stressed you may be, and we’re ready to help you pursue full and fair compensation for your losses. To meet with our team, call our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483, call our Chatom office at 251-847-2237, or contact us online. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

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