Frequently Asked Questions
Can I be sued personally if I cause an injury to another person?
If you were on “Official University Business and acting “within the scope” of your employment duties, the State of Oklahoma will respond to the claim by the “third party” against you. You must request defense from the State Attorney General’s office in writing. The State Attorney General’s office will then notify the plaintiff that the suit must be filed against the State of Oklahoma and not against you.
However, if you are acting outside the scope of your employment duties, you can be sued by a “third party” and named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
What does “Scope of Employment” mean?
The definition of “Scope of Employment” in the Governmental Tort Claims Act is as follows: “Scope of employment: means performance by an employee acting in good faith within the duties of his office or employment or of tasks lawfully assigned by a competent authority including the operation or use of an agency vehicle or equipment with actual or implied consent of the supervisor of the employee, but shall not include corruption or fraud.”
What should I do if a lawsuit is filed against me for injury or damage I caused another
person while performing my official duties?
Notify OSU Risk Management for specific instructions. You will be instructed on how to request defense from the Attorney General’s office. Be sure you have good written documentation from your point of view and keep all legal documents served to you.
OSU Risk, & Property Management
618 N. Monroe
If I am in University traveling status and rent a vehicle should I purchase the optional
insurance offered by the rental agency?
Yes, purchase the optional insurance. When renting a vehicle from an agency, there will be coverage gaps under Oklahoma Tort Law for certain types of damage and in some states Oklahoma liability limits may not be honored.
Are volunteers provided any liability protection under the Governmental Tort Claims
In order for the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act to provide coverage for a volunteer, the person must come under the definition of an “employee”. That definition is:
“Employee” means any person who is authorized to act in behalf of a political subdivision or the state whether that person is acting on a permanent or temporary basis, with or without being compensated or on a full-time or part-time basis.
If authorized to act in an official capacity, volunteers are provided protection as employees under the Oklahoma Tort Claims Act. Tort Liability Coverage is provided for volunteer actions only if performed “Within the scope of official University business.”
The University does not provide Worker’s Compensation coverage for volunteers. For specifics on Worker’s Compensation coverage call the benefits department in Human Resources or go to their website, http://www.okstate.edu/osu_per.
If a visitor to campus is injured, will the State of Oklahoma pay for their medical
Depending upon the circumstances surrounding the injury, the State of Oklahoma may be legally obligated to pay for the medical expenses of an injured person. This situation is also covered under the provisions of the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act. Generally speaking, if the injuries resulted from the negligence of an OSU employee, a claim can be filed. Information on filing a claim can be found at here.
If an OSU employee is injured while performing their employment duties would the medical
bills be covered by the Tort Claims Act?
No. The Tort Claims Act specifically exempts work related injuries. These injuries should be reported to OSU Human Resources as a Workers Compensation claim. (http://www.okstate.edu/osu_per)
If I am traveling in a State Vehicle, can my spouse ride along to keep me company?
It is not recommended because additional passengers could increase the liability of the State in the event of an accident. However, state law does not prohibit passengers from riding in a State vehicle as long as the vehicle is continually being used for “Official State Business.” You cannot alter your course of travel even slightly to accommodate the passenger who is not on “Official State Business.”
If my spouse is riding along with me in a state vehicle and I begin to get sleepy,
can she drive the vehicle?
No. Unless your spouse was designated as an official volunteer and designated to drive the vehicle they would not be provided coverage by the State.
Because I am on-call 24 hours a day, I am allowed to drive a University Vehicle to
my home. If my child’s school is on the way to work, would it be permissible to drop
my child off on the way?
No. State law prohibits the use of State vehicles for private purpose. See 47 O.S. Paragraph 159.7
If I am involved in an automobile accident while driving a University vehicle, do
I have to pay for damages to the OSU vehicle?
If the OSU employee was on Official University Business, within the scope of employment, then the employee would not have to pay for the damage to the OSU vehicle. If the employee was using the University vehicle outside the scope of employment duties, the employee would be subject to reimbursing the University department for damages.
If I am driving a University vehicle on “Official University Business” and receive
a traffic citation, will the University pay for the ticket?
No. Employees are personally responsible for any traffic violations while on University business.
Will the state liability insurance cover me while using my personal vehicle for OSU
If you are on “Official OSU Business & within the Scope of that Business” the state Tort Claims Act would cover damage to a third party as a result of your negligence. The State would not cover damage to your vehicle. See State Attorney General’s Opinion No. 88-13 for 74 O.S. Supp. 1987, Paragraph 500.4(B). See also Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act, 51 O.S. Supp. 1987, 151 et seq.
Does OSU provide insurance coverage for employee’s or student’s personal property?
No, OSU does not provide personal property coverage. Employees should check their homeowner’s policy to determine if coverage is available and students should check their parent’s homeowner’s policy or investigate purchasing renter’s insurance.
- Where can I find a copy of the Scope of Employment Form?
- Where can I find a copy of the Accident Information Form?
- Where can I find a Liability Incident Report Form?
- Where can I find a copy of the Oklahoma Tort Claims Act?