Steps to Take if a Company Vehicle is Crashed by Your Employee
In the United States, about six million car accidents are reported per year. There are times even employees cause accidents using company vehicles. 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 also known as respondeat superior where an employee causes an accident, but you had authorized them to drive the vehicle. Vicarious liability applies if the employee was running company errands, driving a client from or to an appointment or running errands as directed by the employer. Vicarious liability does not apply if the employer was going to some place not sent by employer, driving outside the employment scope or an employee driving to or from home without authority.
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. Such cases occur when the employee is driving under drugs or alcohol influence. If an employee causes an accident and he was not doing work-related activities, then an employer can avoid liability. 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 an accident. It will even further apply in case the other party does not have enough insurance coverage. It is advisable to file a worker’s compensation claim instead of pursuing the other driver involved in the accident. A worker’s compensation covers lost income and medical bills but does not cover for pain suffered and damages. You will only receive compensation if your employer can prove that the other driver was at fault. 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. Handling accidents caused by company vehicles can be complicated, and you are advised not to try to navigate them on your own. Not all insurance companies cover employee collisions. You need to confirm with your policy and ensure you are covered and if you do not get an insurance professional to tweak the coverage. Ensure you set rules for using company vehicles and educate your employees on how to handle these vehicles.