Moffat & Co Solicitors

Moffat & Co Solicitors
Accident Compensation Claim Solicitors Scotland
PO Box 28287
0131 662 6988
0131 667 8175

MASS Motor Accident Solicitors Society

Moffat & Co Solicitors Over 25 years of experience at your service

Work Accidents Scotland

Out and about - who's responsible if you have an accident off-site?

The average working day is changing. With a more transient workforce, there are often going to be times when you may be required to work 'off-site', whether that's meeting with clients, making deliveries or collections or a number of other out of area visits in an average working day. So while you're out and about, who is responsible if you have an accident?

Duty of care

During a normal working day, your employer is responsible for your safety and well being whilst in the execution of your duties as an employee. This is commonly referred to as a 'duty of care' and extends to all employees, visitors and contractors whilst under the direct supervision of an employer. It means that the employer has to make sure that your working environment is a safe one, no matter what your line of work. That can encompass everything from ensuring that ergonomic assessments are carried out in an office to reduce the possibility of eye-strain or RSI from continued use of a keyboard, right through to safety issues on a building site.

Therefore, if you are visiting clients on premises other than your normal working site, that duty of care is shifted onto the business owner you are visiting. It is their responsibility to make sure that you are safe and that your well being is catered for during your time at their location.

But out and about, it's a different matter. Company vehicles are classed as part of the employer's business premises (which is why it is illegal to smoke in a company car, for example), so your employer has a responsibility to ensure that the vehicle you are driving is road-worthy and safe to operate. If an accident on the road can be directly linked to a lack of routine maintenance of a company vehicle, it could be argued that the employer has failed in their duty of care towards their employee by providing them with a faulty vehicle to use in the execution of their daily work and potentially a claim against the employer could be made. But obviously, the full extent of the circumstances would need to be taken into consideration before this could be pursued, and could be difficult to prove.

Taking responsibility

However, not only does the employer have a responsibility to ensure the safety of his or her workforce - the employees have a similar responsibility too. How you carry out your job has a direct effect on those around you (hence the 'how's my driving?' stickers often seen on the back of company vehicles). If your negligence or poor driving, for example, causes a road traffic accident, both you and your employer could be technically held responsible and subject to a personal injury claim from a third party. The proliferation of Health and Safety at Work legislation has been the cause of much derision from many people and is a constant source of outraged headlines complaining of a 'nanny state' in the media. But those laws exist to protect and ensure the well being and safety of everyone. Breaches in those laws through negligence, whether on-site or off, can result in legal action being taken against either a company or an individual. Who is ultimately responsible for an accident while away from your normal place of work is a very grey area and needs expert advice, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. But because of the seriousness of the question, it is something that everyone needs to be mindful of when working away from 'base'. Out of sight should never mean out of mind, and ultimately it is the employer's responsibility to ensure that their workers are not sent into dangerous situations or given faulty machinery such as company cars or vans with which to carry out their daily tasks.

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My case was dealt with personally by Stan Moffat and what a brilliant guy. His office contacted me personally by telephone at the start of my claim to explain who they were and what they would be doing for me. All through the case I was kept fully informed of all actions either by e-mail or by letter and reassured by Stan several times of any queries I had.

It is very seldom that a solicitor will take the time to speak personally at any time with you without getting run through secretaries etc. I commend this man for that as this was a very upsetting and important time for me and he did everything in his power to make this as easy and as swift as possible for me.

I highly recommend the service that this firm brings and the speed that they move at.

J McMahon

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