If medical equipment was stolen from personal vehicle, am I responsible for replacing it?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If medical equipment was stolen from personal vehicle, am I responsible for replacing it?

I am a midwife. I deliver babies in people’s homes. As such I am required to carry lots of medical equipment in my car at all times. The equipment is owned by the birth center I work for. My car was broken into and several expensive pieces of equipment were taken. The car was locked. Nothing was clearly visible from looking into the windows. Am I responsible for replacing the stolen equipment or is that

Asked on August 28, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you are liable (or responsible) for the equipment if stolen by a third party not under your control (e.g. by some criminal not working for/with you) only if it can be shown that you were negligent, or unreasonably careless, in securing the equipment. For example, if you left obviously valuable equipment visible in a vehicle which was unlocked or had a window open, that degree of carelessness could make you liable. But if you were not negligent in contributing to the theft, you are not liable for the equipment, because you would not have been at fault and did not cause the theft. 
That said, bear in mind that if you do not have a written employment contract, you are an employee at will, and your boss could legally terminate you over this, even if you are not legally liable, simply because he is annoyed that he lost equipment from your car.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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