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Distracted Driver

When a Distracted Driver Can Claim Vicarious Liability

Have you ever lived vicariously through someone’s exploits or adventures? It means to experience through the imagination the feelings or actions of another person. It also means acting or done for another. In the case of vicarious liability, it means an employer may be responsible for damages caused by an employee.

Mobile Devices and Distracted Driving

Most states now have some type of law addressing the use of mobile devices while driving. Many businesses and organizations who employ drivers or who have employees who must drive as part of their jobs also have very stringent rules about not using mobile devices while driving. Doing so could cost you your job.

The importance of these rules comes as a result of so many accidents that have been caused by distracted driving. Accidents range from simple fender benders to major fatal collisions, the vast majority of which could have been avoided. Employers must enforce the rules because they can be held liable for the accident caused by an employee.

Vicarious Liability

It is assumed employers hire competent employees. These employees are expected to follow the rules of the business or organization and competently represent the employer in whatever position they hold. This includes driving a vehicle.

Under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability, an employer can be held liable for the negligent acts of her or his employee. If the business or organization does not have a policy in place that specifically addresses the consequences of mobile device or cell phone use while driving during company time, the employer may be held responsible for the actions of their employees.

Do the Right Thing

Employers need to have documented policies in place that spell out the consequences of using mobile devices while driving on company time. Employees need to sign off on the policies so there is no question whether or not the employee was aware of the policy. The rules need to be strictly enforced, as well.

Employees, in fact, people in general, need to be aware of the consequences of distracted driving and just not do it – not on company time, not on their own time. Lives are ruined and lives are lost as a result of avoidable accidents. If everyone were to do the right thing and drive with their full attention on the road, the accident rate would decrease by tens of thousands.

Personal injury caused by another person’s distracted driving can turn a family inside out. We have expertise in personal injury law at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. Come see us when you have a personal injury case. We are the trial lawyers who care, and we will fight for you. We have offices conveniently located in North Port, Englewood and Port Charlotte to serve southwest Florida communities.

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