Sometimes, obtaining a truly successful outcome in your auto accident case involves not just proving your case and establishing your damages but also making sure that the judgment asserts liability against the right defendants. This is especially true if your damages award is large. Obtain a multi-million dollar judgment against an employee making $15 an hour, and you may recover only a small fraction of your total damages. Obtain that same judgment against the employee and his corporate employer, and you may have a much greater chance of obtaining the full amount of the damages awarded to you.
That is why, in many auto accident situations, it is beneficial, as a plaintiff, to pursue both a driver and the driver’s employer when possible. In many situations, the fact that the accident took place while the employee was commuting to work would close the door on obtaining a judgment against the employer. The “going and coming” rule of liability says that, if an employee causes an accident while going to or coming from work, the employer generally isn’t liable under a respondeat superior theory of liability. In one recent case originating in Orange County, a motorcyclist was allowed to pursue a driver’s employer, even though the accident occurred as the driver was traveling to work.