There are six million car accidents per year in the United States. At one point an employee can cause an accident with a company vehicle. It may or may not be serious. So what would you do if an employee causes an accident using your company vehicle? The first thing to do is to confirm that everybody is fine and establish who is responsible for the damages and injuries. This is a difficult question as it depends on the circumstances behind the accident.
Vicarious liability which is also respondeat superior is if an employee is involved in an accident yet you had authorised them to use the car. This kind of liability is applicable when the employee was running errands such as driving a client either to or from an appointment or running company errands as directed by the employer. If an employer was going home or coming to work using the company vehicle and caused the accident, driving outside the scope of employment or was driving to a place not sent by the employer, then vicarious liability does not apply.
An employer will not be responsible for any accident damages in case his employee was involved in an accident when committing an offense. They cannot file a claim for worker’s compensation or against your insurance company. These offenses include driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An employer can avoid liability in case their employee gets involved in an accident while the vehicle is not doing work-related activities. Before a judge, this is known as frolic where an employer holds their employees completely liable.
Worker’s compensation will come into play if an employee is injured in the accident. Worker’s compensation will apply in case the other party involved in the accident does not have sufficient insurance coverage. It is advisable to file a worker’s compensation claim instead of pursuing the other driver involved in the accident. You will not be compensated for damages and suffered pain however your medical bills and lost income are covered in worker’s compensation. Your employer must prove that the other driver was at fault for you to receive compensation. An injured driver will receive worker’s compensation benefits if they had the authority to drive the vehicle at the time of the accident.
There is a likelihood that as an employee you will have some liability and it is advisable to consult your lawyer immediately. Never attempt to handle accidents caused using company vehicles on your own as they can be quite complicated. Employee collisions are not covered by all company insurance policies. Check to know whether you are covered if not consult insurance professionals to assist you in tweaking the coverage. Lastly, reduce accidents by company vehicles by educating your employees and setting rules on using such vehicles.