Most companies like Lynx make it a point to train their drivers who use company-owned vehicles in a manner that reduces the possibility of a traffic violation or crash from happening. Accordingly, a company driver who fails a breathalyzer test would face personal criminal charges and prosecution for breaking the law. When it comes to violations of the law that happen in company cars, liability is not always so clear-cut.
Companies and drivers must ensure the company vehicle is legal to drive before using it. This means making sure the tires, bodywork, wheels, lights, windows, license plates, vehicle registration, and insurance are all in place. Vehicles should be carefully inspected before going out on the road. A company does not have the right to sanction or dismiss a driver who raises concerns about the condition of the vehicle or who refuses to drive because the vehicle is not roadworthy.
Generally, Florida law may hold an employer liable for harm suffered when a driver negligently operates a vehicle while on the job. This is referred to as respondeat superior – or vicarious liability. The circumstances under which an employer may be held responsible include if:
- The vehicle is owned by the employer and it is operated with the employer’s knowledge and consent. This may be express or implied consent; and
- If the vehicle, regardless of ownership, is used in the business of the employer with express or implied consent for a business purpose
Generally, Florida law may hold an employer liable for harm suffered when a driver negligently operates a vehicle while on the job.
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In order to show that an employee’s conduct was within the course and scope of his or her employment for the purposes of vicarious liability, the injured party must show that the conduct was the type that the employee was hired to perform; occurred substantially within the time frame and geographical limits authorized or required by the work; and was initiated, at least in part, for the purpose to serve the employer. Some Florida courts have found that an employer is not responsible for torts committed by its employees if the tort occurred while he or she was going to work or returning home – unless, however, the employee was on a special errand for the employer at the time of the accident.
In the Lynx bus case, it likely does not make a difference that the same company owned both vehicles – at least when it comes to a wrongful death claim by the surviving family members of the deceased driver.
Legal Help in Florida
If you have been involved in a Florida bus accident, or you have any other legal question regarding an injury suffered due to the fault of another, contact the experienced attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns, P.A. We have fought for the rights of the injured across the state of Florida, and we will fight for you.
NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.