From the Hotline: Employee Accident and Workers’ Compensation

Question: An employee clocked out for a break, left company property in a personal vehicle, and was in an accident off the company premises. Does the company have any liability for this?

Answer: First, contact your general liability insurance and workers’ compensation brokers so that they can review the limits of your plans and determine the limits of your liability. They are the experts in this area and will know the specific details of your insurance arrangements for liability.

In general, because this employee had clocked out for his or her break, was not conducting any business on behalf of the company, and was in his or her own vehicle at the time of the accident off company premises, the chances of liability seem minimal. If, however, the employee was running an errand for the company, such as dropping mail off at the post office or stopping for supplies at a store, then the circumstances relating to liability would be different. It is important to work with your broker and/or company attorney to ensure that all facts and circumstances are carefully considered prior to accepting or denying liability for the incident.