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Employers may share liability when on-duty workers drink & drive

We have previously written about the all-too-frequent hazard of drunk driving. Despite strong laws and public safety campaigns, drunk driving accidents kill approximately 10,000 people each year and injure countless others on U.S. roads and highways.

If you or a loved one was involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you may wish to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in addition to any criminal charges the driver may be facing. But it's important to remember that the drunk driver may not be the only liable party. If he or she was "on the job" in any capacity at the time of the accident, the drunk driver's employer may also share liability for the crash.

Heavy drinking on company time is actually more common than you may realize – particularly when employees are on business trips. In a recent survey of more than 1,000 business travelers, about 27 percent of survey participants confessed to engaging in binge drinking while on such trips. Men are more likely than women to binge drink on a work trip (33 percent of men vs. 24 percent of women).

If employees on business trips are getting behind the wheel after binge drinking, their employers could face liability for any accidents they cause.

A similar situation involves employees leaving a work-sponsored event where alcohol was served. An office happy hour or holiday party is a great way to promote camaraderie, but employers ultimately need to ensure that their employees are not driving home drunk.

Drunk driving accidents are often devastating and even fatal. If your family has been affected by the negligence of a drunk driver, please share your story with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Source: Carrier Management, "Too Many Drinks on a Business Trip Can Heighten Employer Liability," Feb. 19, 2015

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