Is an employer obligated financially when employee is in a car accident doing an errand on the clock?

My son was asked to drive to do an errand while at work 3 weeks ago. Travel is not part of this job and is normally not an issue but the manager on duty asked him to go. On the way back to work, my son was in a head on collision. While he walked away completely unscathed and uninjured, his car was totaled. We have incurred several thousand dollars in expenses, as we carried no collision coverage on the car, in addition to towing fees, etc. We reached out immediately to the owners of the company, inquiring about whether they would be willing to cover something. We were told that they were consulting their insurance company and would be in touch. We have never heard from them again, and they do not respond to my husband’s text inquiries. Our

feeling is that none of this would have happened if our son was not asked to run this errand, and he was literally punched in and on the clock at the time of the accident. Do we have a case?

Asked on October 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you do not have a case. An employer is not liable or responsible for the injuries or car damage an employee of theirs suffers while using his vehicle for work or driving for work. The employer might be liable to third parties (other people) injured or damaged by the employee under the legal theory of "respondeat superior," which holds the employer liable *to third parties* for certain acts of their employee, but that theory does not make them liable or responsible for the employee's own losses or damage. The employer does not function as the employee's insurer to provide him compensation in cases like this. Your son needs to look to his own insurance and/or sue another driver who was at fault in causing the accident and damage.


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