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A Sign Does Not Make An Employee Make

Employer Not Liable for After-Hours Collision
Employers are generally liable for injuries caused by the employees working for them. However, this liability is not unlimited. Usually, employers are only liable for injuries caused by employees who are within the scope of their employment when the injury occurs. A recent Illinois case illustrates the limitations on an employer's liability.

The case involved an automobile collision caused by an employee of a home builder. At the time of the collision, the employee was "off duty" and was running an errand in his personal truck. However, his truck had magnetic signs with his employer's name and telephone number on them.

The people whom he injured sued the employer, claiming that he was responsible for their injuries. According to the plaintiffs, the evidence showed that the employer required his employees to keep signs on their vehicles even when they were not working, and that the purpose of these signs was to advertise the builder's business. This advertisement benefited the builder and, therefore, the employee was acting for his employer at the time of the collision.

The Illinois court disagreed. Although it assumed that the employer had told the employee to keep the signs on his truck even when he was not working, it found that any benefit the employer received from advertising while the employee was off duty was a benefit occurring outside the "time and space limits" of the employee's employment. Unwilling to make employers liable under these circumstances, the court ruled that any benefit the employer received was too incidental to support his liability for the negligence of his off-duty employee.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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