Q. One of our managers was talking on his company cell phone while driving when he struck and injured a pedestrian. Can the pedestrian sue the company?
A. The pedestrian could file a lawsuit against the company. In terms of whether the company would be found liable for the injuries, there have been some cases finding a company liable when an employee was driving and talking on a cell phone in the course of performing employment-related duties.
Was the employee having a work-related conversation? Do you have a cell phone policy that directs employees not to talk on the phone while driving? A court faced with this type of claim would likely assess whether the company was negligent in providing a phone to the employee.
Relevant factors might include whether the company expected this employee to “work” while driving, whether the company had taken a position in writing on the use of cell phones while driving and whether the accident occurred during work hours.