Just Thinking About Work During Your Commute Does Not Mean You Are Working

By: Allan M. Siegel

Back in November, we posted about the Virginia Supreme Court agreeing to hear arguments on whether a law firm could be held liable for the automobile accident caused by one of its attorneys as he was driving to work. And just a couple weeks ago the Court found that the lawyer was not working at the time of the accident.

The attorney who caused the accident argued that he was working at the time of the crash and should be covered by his employer's insurance policy, providing him an additional $1 Million in protection over his personal insurance policy of $100,000. A jury agreed but the judge set aside that verdict. As a result, the attorney, and the other driver who had sued him, appealed, arguing that because the lawyer did work at a home office, he was really traveling between work locations and not commuting, and since he was available and ready to do work in the car, he was in the service of the law firm at the time of the accident. The Court rejected this argument and upheld the Circuit Court judge's decision to set aside the jury verdict. It found the only work related activity the lawyer conducted at home before leaving for the office was to check his work emails and call his office voicemail and that merely thinking about work during a commute did not mean it was in the course of business. Therefore, the lawyer was not covered by his law firm's insurance policy.Virginia auto accident lawyer

Although this decision was not surprising, it was important in clarifying the liability of employers' for the actions of employees. Had the Court found in favor of the attorney, and found the firm's insurance policy applied, it would have likely opened the door for businesses to be liable for the actions of many other employees who regularly do work outside of the office, or think about work while driving to and from the office.

The auto accident lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., have decades of experience representing individuals who have been hurt as a result of careless drivers. We know how important it is to explore all avenues of compensation to ensure our clients are fully compensated for their injuries. If you or someone you know was injured in an auto accident as a result of someone else's carelessness, give the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. a call for a free consultation.