Carpools are very popular these days. Not only are they ideal if you live far away from work, but it’s also a chance to get to know other people at work. Because of its practicality, many companies are offering carpooling services since it not only improves recruitment rates but also increases employee retention.
Carpool programs provided by companies, in turn, help employees lessen their fuel costs and the wear-and-tear of their vehicles.
Carpooling also reduces stress and can improve productivity at the office given they don’t have to stress out in traffic day in and day out. Companies can provide a variety of different carpooling programs, adopting one that works best for their employees. Companies can offer rideshare discounts on parking fees, prizes for participating in the program every month and more.
But let’s say that you get into an accident during your rideshare commute to work and are injured. What happens then? Well, a personal injury attorney will handle the carpool accident like any other accident. They’ll try to go after the person at fault, which might also include the employer hosting the rideshare program.
A recent Texas Supreme Court ruled that an employer could be liable for accidents their employees cause while carpooling. This called “vicarious liability” or “respondent superior,” which makes an employer responsible for any injuries their employee incurs if they’re driving on behalf of the company. A rideshare program is put on by the company to benefit it with more productive workers.
Usually, a victim of an auto accident must prove that the driver at-fault for the accident was an employee and not a contractor. Plus, they must prove that the crash was within the scope of their employment with the company. But there are still limits to the rule.
Usually, employers don’t have to pay damages to employees when they’ve caused any injuries during their commute to and from work, despite being part of a company’s rideshare program. But an employer could still be liable if that employee is driving a company vehicle or is running any errands after work.
In 2018, a Texas Supreme Court expanded on these exceptions to what’s called the “coming and going” rule. This made companies responsible for any carpool accidents under certain circumstances.
The case the affected the Texas Supreme Court decision was Painter v. Amerimex Drilling I, Ltd. In this case, the victims were severely injured during their evening commute back home.
One of the drivers was employed by Amerimex, with the company paying him a stipend each day to drive his team from employer-sponsored housing to the worksite in his personal car. But after the crash, the victims and their families took legal action against Amerimex, using the theory of vicarious liability.
Amerimex argued that they weren’t responsible for any damages since they didn’t make employees join the carpool program. They also stated that they did not make the drive go to the bunkhouse before and after work. But the Texas Supreme Court didn’t side with Amerimex’s statements because the driver was being compensated for his driving services.
Plus, Amerimex benefited from the program since it made sure everyone arrived at the worksite on time. The driller also considered driving the other team members as part of his regular job description.
But the Texas Supreme Court did acknowledge that not every carpool program a company has creates vicarious liability. Amerimex is still disputing the case now.
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident while participating in a company-sponsored carpool program or where the driver of the rideshare is at fault, there are a few things you’ll want to know.
First, you could have claims against the negligent driver, their company and without your own auto insurance company. The driver’s company probably won’t give out information about carpool incentives given it may create vicarious liability. You’ll also want to act fast since there are limitations on when a person can file a vicarious liability claim.
Working with A Personal Injury Attorney
Working with a qualified personal injury lawyer will help your case since they’ll be able to investigate who was really at fault. It could be the driver of the rideshare vehicle or the other driver involved in the accident.
They’ll be able to prove that the drive was being negligent in how they were driving, which is why you were injured in the first place. If you’re injured in a carpool accident, a personal injury lawyer will help you recover any damages in court.
A personal injury lawyer will help you every step of the way so that you recover and are compensated for your injuries and trouble They’ll help you investigate the accident, negotiate with the insurance companies involved and file a lawsuit on your behalf. Your personal injury attorney will review all the circumstances and facts of the crash so that you get the compensation you deserve.
Carpooling and rideshare accidents can be tricky and need very careful evaluation. You’ll want to find a qualified and knowledgeable attorney to represent you on a case of this magnitude so that you have the best chances of receiving damages for your injuries and trouble.
Personal injury lawyers are there to ensure that your rights and interests are well protected so that you don’t have to worry about medical bills because of your injuries.