I was driving my truck on i-95 and my tires blew and I hit a tree head-on. Can my employer be liable for this accident since I was on my way to work?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Only if there are additional facts that would make it liable. Driving to work normally isn't part of an employee's duties; it's just how he gets to the place where he performs those duties. In other words, your commute is something you do on your own time. Employers generally are not liable for what happens to employees outside of work.
Remember that we usually make someone liable only if he or she was in a position to prevent the harm. It's hard to see how your employer could have prevented this accident. Tires usually blow out due to problems with how they were maintained and/or with how the car was being driven. Both of those factors were probably under your control, not your employer's. If the law did not hold drivers responsible for accidents like this, then we would all lose an important incentive to drive safely and to maintain our cars properly. Such a law would benefit you in this instance but it would be bad for society overall.
In some unusual situations an employee's commute might qualify as part of his job. Nothing you have written suggests that this would be true in your case. But even if it is, that alone might not be enough make your employer liable. It might be enough to get you workers' comp for any injuries you suffered, but I don't think it would be enough to get you reimbursed for damage to the car.