When your work has you driving a company car, you may feel privileged to be able to use it, but at some point, you may feel a great burden, particularly when you think of the possibility of getting into an accident while driving it.
Generally, your company will have insurance to cover all accidents that are work-related. However, getting a clear picture as to who is responsible for any accident may be complicated, and when the accident is work-related many times it is even less clear.
What this means is that if as a result of the accident there are uncovered injuries or damages, if it turns out that you are responsible for the accident, you may have to pay for the uncovered items.
If you take the company car home, you should know that if the car is covered by the business’ insurance policy, it most likely will not cover you if you have an accident while you run your errands. You should check to see if your own car insurance policy will cover you if you have an accident while driving a company car on your own time. If it doesn’t, you should add extended non-owned auto coverage to it.
When accident fault and damages involving employees and employers are discussed in court, both lawyers and judges refer to the principle of Respondeat Superior. This principle signals that employers are in most cases responsible for the actions carried out by their employees, providing the employee was acting within the description of their job.
In general, when an employee is carrying out work-related assignments and tasks while driving a company vehicle, insurance-related matters will be covered by the employer. In these cases, the employer cannot assign responsibility to an employee for any damages that are the result of the accident.
What other factors may play a role in determining who is responsible when there is an accident with a company car?
There are several factors that could play a role. For example, the company’s insurance policy may clearly either make employees liable or exclude them from liability for an accident. Or the state where the accident takes place may affect the determination of liability since different jurisdictions have different rules. Rear-end collisions have their own set of liability rules.
The law in these cases, according to car accident lawyers Battista & Bliss, can be quite complicated. Make an appointment with a car accident lawyer to discuss your case and understand the legal options available to you. Keep in mind that having an accident, even if it is an accident in a company car, may show up in your driving record and even affect your own car insurance policy.
If so, ask your boss or supervisor to explain the company’s position regarding the accident. And if you are not satisfied with the answer, an employment attorney can help you determine if your termination was wrongful.