Articles Posted in Third-Party Liability

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.”

HighwayIn 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.

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In December 2015, a state appellate court held that a hospital owed a duty to other drivers to inform patients about the effects of medication administered at the hospital.

drunk-drive-1171456According to one news source, on March 4, 2009, a patient sought treatment at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, NY. As part of her treatment, the hospital gave the patient an opioid narcotic painkiller and a benzodiazepine drug. However, the hospital did not warn her that the medication impaired or could impair her ability to safely operate an automobile. After leaving the hospital and driving herself, the patient was involved in an accident that injured Edwin Davis. As she was driving, the patient’s car crossed a double yellow line and struck a bus driven by Davis. In Davis v. South Nassau Communities Hosp., Davis brought suit against the hospital, alleging that the crash was the result of the hospital’s failure to warn the patient about the effects of the medication.

The court held that the hospital owed a duty to other motorists to warn the patient that the medication administered to her either impaired or could have impaired her ability to safely operate an automobile. The court reasoned that the hospital’s employees were the only people who could have provided a proper warning of the effects of the medication.

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