A University employee, performing one's duties within his or her scope of employment, has liability coverage under the State's Risk Management Program.
The Risk Management Division of the Department of Central Services for the State of Oklahoma is, in essence, the insurance carrier for Southwestern as well as other state agencies. If a tort, legal wrong, is committed against a third party that party can seek to recover damages by filing a claim with the Risk Management Division.
A University employee who uses a University or private vehicle while performing university business has liability coverage provided by the State's insurance. The appropriate leave/travel form should be on file in one's department. A single page statement of such coverage is available at the Department of Public Safety Office on campus and should be carried in one's vehicle.
Employees should be aware that the "Tort Claims Act" adopts sovereign immunity for state employees except to the extent that, in certain cases, immunity is waived. Immunity can be waived in the case of an employee who either is not acting within his or her scope of employment or refuses to cooperate with investigations (by the appropriate individuals) of liability incidents.
If, as an employee of SWOSU, one is involved in an accident or if one witnesses an incident in which a possible tort may have been committed against a third part, one should:
- If possible, insure the personal safety of individuals involved and take steps to prevent further damage to state property.
- DISCOURAGE speculative comments by employees at the scene. Make NO statements concerning assumption of liability. Give out only information required by authorities. DO NOT sign any statement except for an authorized representative of the RISK MANAGEMENT DIVISION.
- Call the Department of Public Safety (DPE) on campus (ext. 3785) as soon as possible after the incident. Or, call the State Risk Management Office (405-521-4999) day or night if you cannot reach the DPS. If you call the state office, then contact DPS as soon as possible thereafter.
- If an accident occurs in a SWOSU vehicle, please refer to the reporting guide that is kept in each vehicle.