Usually, when an accident occurs, the injured person will seek compensation from the person at fault for causing the injury. However, when an employee was at fault, the employer may be responsible for the injury, even when the employee was not technically “on the job.”
In a recent case in a federal court of appeals, an employee working for the federal government borrowed a car from his employer without receiving explicit permission before doing so. The employee drove the car back to his hotel, where he had been staying for work. On his way back, the employee was in a car accident, and another driver was seriously injured. The injured driver brought a claim against the employee as well as against the government.
The government moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the employee was acting outside the scope of his employment when the accident occurred. The employee was working in another city and staying at a hotel there. He was using a government car during work hours, but he was typically using his personal car after work. Yet he was not forbidden from using the government car outside work hours, and he was permitted to take the car back to the hotel overnight if he first obtained approval from his supervisor.