In McIver v. McIntyre, the Court found that a worker who was injured in a collision could not recover damages against the other vehicle’s owner. The vehicle the worker collided with was operated by a mechanic who was repairing and testing the vehicle while working in the course of his employment.
Operating a motor vehicle for work is more than driving a truck, cab or ambulance. Anyone driving from home to a location different from their usual workplace, or travelling for work, is usually “in the course of employment” under workers’ compensation law. Thus distracted driving is very much an employer responsibility and risk.
A business' obligations to its workers will depend on whether the workers are employees or independent contractors. However, a recent decision reminds us that, even where a worker is a true independent contractor, this distinction may not preclude a business being liable to third parties, such as customers, when the worker does something wrong.