Texas Court Analyzes Employer Liability in Car Accident Cases

It is not uncommon for people to have jobs that require them to travel to different locations on a regular basis. In such instances, employers will often provide their employees with company vehicles. Doing so could potentially expose the employer to liability, however, if the employee subsequently causes a collision while using the employer’s vehicle, and people suffer injuries as a result of the crash. People pursuing claims against employers for harm caused by an employee’s car accident must demonstrate that the employer’s negligence directly led to the crash in question, however, otherwise their claims may be dismissed, as demonstrated recently in Jesus Yanez v. Oilpatch NDT, LLC (NO. 14-23-00417-CV), a Texas car accident case. If you suffered harm in a crash, it is smart to talk to a Texas car accident lawyer regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

History of the Case

It is reported that in late December 2018, the defendant driver visited a friend’s apartment to watch soccer games. He was not working at the time but was driving his employer’s vehicle as his own car was non-functional. He consumed alcohol excessively during the gathering and, while driving home later, blacked out. The defendant driver then collided with the plaintiff’s pickup truck, resulting in significant damage to both vehicles and non-life-threatening injuries to both drivers.

Allegedly, the defendant driver’s blood alcohol level was found to be well above the legal limit, and he was charged with driving while intoxicated. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendant driver and the defendant employer, alleging negligent supervision and training. The defendant employer moved for dismissal via summary judgment. The court granted the motion, prompting the plaintiff to appeal.

Employer Liability in Car Accident Cases

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. Regarding the negligent supervision claim, the plaintiff argued that the defendant employer’s failure to monitor the defendant driver’s vehicle usage and inform him of the company’s policies contributed to the accident. However, the court found no evidence that the defendant driver’s use of the company vehicle or his intoxication resulted from the defendant employer’s oversight or training practices.

Similarly, the court found that there was no evidence that the defendant driver would have refrained from illegal acts had he been aware of company policies. On the issue of negligent training, the plaintiff failed to establish a causal link between the defendant employer’s training practices and the accident.

Consequently, the court affirmed the trial court’s judgment, as the plaintiff couldn’t demonstrate proximate cause connecting his injuries to the defendant employer’s conduct

Talk to a Dedicated Texas Car Accident Attorney

People often cause car crashes when they are working, and in some instances, their employer may be deemed liable for any losses that ensue. If you were hurt in a collision, it is smart to talk to an attorney about what claims you may be able to pursue. Earl Drott is a dedicated Texas lawyer with ample experience pursuing claims against parties responsible for car accidents, and if you hire him, he will advocate aggressively in your favor. You can contact Mr. Drott to arrange a free meeting through the online form or at 903-531-9300.

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