What to Do If You Get into a Car Accident in Your Company Vehicle
by Arina Smith Automotive 12 November 2018
Only 40% of car accidents in a company vehicle are work-related. That means that 60% happen during the employee’s personal time!
If an accident happens, it is important to determine who is liable for the damages. Just because the vehicle is a company car, doesn’t mean that the company is automatically liable.
Use this guide to help take the right actions after the accident. We are going to help you determine who is liable, the company or the employee.
What You Need to Find Out:
When the accident occurs, the first thing to do is determine is who is at fault. This will tell the company, employee, and third party who is liable for the damages.
If the employee is at fault then it should be determined if the employee is acting on their own or on behalf of the business. This will determine who of the two parties is financially liable.
At this same time, you should also calculate the total amount of damages caused. This will include both property damage and medical costs.
The Company Is Responsible:
Most of the time the employer will be responsible for the employee’s actions. This is called vicarious liability. This applies when the employee is acting within the scope of their employment.
You also need to determine what type of insurance is set up for the company and its drivers. Some companies have collision coverage for the employees, others do not.
When the company’s coverage applies, the employee is indemnified, or protected, from an action by the third party. The company essentially steps into the employee’s shoes from this point forward.
Most likely you will want to settle with the other party involved in the accident. It will cost less to hire an attorney to settle than to go to court.
The best thing you can do is speak with an experienced car accident attorney to learn more about your options. They can help you decide if a settlement is right for your situation.
The Employee Is Responsible:
Sometimes the employee gets into an accident while driving a company car, but is still responsible. There are four common situations where this happens.
First is the employee is engaged in criminal activity. Unless the employer is having the employee commit the crime, the employer is not responsible for the employer’s criminal behavior.
The second is the employee going on a “frolic”. The employee should be working. Instead, they are goofing off. An example of this is the employee taking a detour from their duties during business hours to run personal errands.
If the employee is an independent contractor they are liable for the accident. Pizza delivery drivers are a perfect example of this. They work for the pizza restaurant, but they drive their own car to deliver pizzas.
The final situation is when the employee uses the company vehicle for nonbusiness activity. This is different from a frolic because it happens outside of business hours. This happens when the vehicle gets used for recreational travel.
Your Car Accident in a Company Vehicle:
The first thing that should happen after a car accident in a company vehicle is to make sure everyone is ok. Once this is established the damage should be assessed and determination of fault.
If the employee is at fault, then you need to figure out if the employee or the company is liable. The company will be liable if the employee was performing work on behalf of the employer.
The company won’t be liable if the employee was doing something outside of the sanctioned duties as defined by the company. Then the employee will be liable for the damages.
Unsure if you should hire an accident attorney, consider these 4 major benefits.