According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 2,000 people are killed in work-related traffic collisions each year. This startling statistic doesn’t even account for the innumerable injuries that are sustained by traveling employees within the same time period. Fortunately, employees who are injured in work-related traffic collisions in South Carolina are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are important nuances and exceptions to this policy.
Understanding the Legal Doctrine of Respondeat Superior
Under the legal doctrine of “respondeat superior,” employers are legally responsible for the actions of their employees. Of course, this policy only applies if an employee is acting within the scope of their job duties. For example, if an employee is responsible for a traffic accident while delivering important documents, it’s the employer who is legally obligated to pay for any injuries or property damage. Essentially, the employee is protected from any third-party actions.
To summarize: a worker acting within the scope of their employment is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits even if they’re responsible for a traffic accident.
“Acting within the scope of their employment,” could mean:
- They are using a company vehicle while completing their job duties
- They are making a delivery
- They are running work-related errands
- They are transporting employees for business purposes
- They are driving to different worksites
- They are remotely based and paid for travel time
As previously stated, there are exceptions to this rule. An employee can’t receive workers compensation benefits under the following circumstances:
- The traffic accident occurred outside of work hours (i.e. lunch breaks)
- The employee was running person errands on company time
- The employee was driving under the influence when the accident took place
Contact Pierce | Sloan to Learn More
At Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC, we understand that motor vehicle accidents frequently lead to severe cognitive and physical injuries that necessitate expensive medical treatments and surgeries. However, by filing for workers’ compensation benefits, you can receive economic aid that facilitates your physical and financial recovery process. Our Charleston workers’ compensation lawyers have been providing legal services to South Carolina employees since 1999. In fact, we’ve recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. If you need reliable legal counsel, reach out to our legal team today.
Call Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC at (843) 968-0886 to schedule a consultation.