You’re in a company car on your way to a conference. Suddenly, the front tire blows, you lose control of the car and hit another vehicle. No one is hurt, fortunately, but you’re unsure of who pays for the accident. If you have an accident in a company car, it’s best to hire car accident lawyers right away to represent you. Otherwise, here are a few questions that can help you determine who is financially responsible for the accident.
Was the Company Car Insured?
Most company cars will be covered by an auto insurance policy of some sort, and most of the time, the car will be insured in the company’s name. If the car was fully covered, the insurance company will likely pay for any damages. Although this may come as a relief, there are other things to consider. For example, if the cause of the accident is deemed to be your negligence, you may be required to pay the company back for any losses. If you were driving impaired, or if you were driving recklessly, the liability may also fall on your shoulders.
Can the Employer be Held Responsible?
Most judges and car accident lawyers alike know that employers are typically held responsible for the actions of their employees. This is true whether an accident involves personal injury, property damage, or both. However, this only applies when the employee in question was acting within his or her defined scope of employment at the time. To put this into perspective, if you have an accident while driving a company car to a client’s home, you are acting within your scope of employment. Conversely, if you are driving the company car to pick up personal products from the market, you are not acting within the scope of your employment. In the latter case, you could be deemed financially responsible.
Does Your Employer Have a Company Car Contract?
Sometimes, employers will create company car contracts that you must sign before being allowed to drive a company car. If this is the case, it’s important to read that contract carefully and keep a copy for your records. When you contact a car accident lawyer or personal injury lawyer to represent you, this contract will be very important. It may completely release your employer from any liability regardless of whether you were using the vehicle within your scope of employment. It may also provide a set of guidelines associated with the use of the company car, which could then be used to negate company liability.
Did Your Employer Properly Maintain the Car?
Finally, if you’re involved in an accident in a company car that is due to that car’s mechanical failure, and you are injured in that accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Your personal injury lawyer can help determine whether proper maintenance of the vehicle could have prevented the failure that caused the accident. For example, failing to properly change or rotate tires could lead to a blowout, and if your lawyer finds that your employer was negligent in that maintenance, you could be compensated.
If you’re in an accident in a company car, you should call a personal injury lawyer specializing in motor vehicle accidents right away. Ultimately, it’s up to a judge to determine who will pay for any damages or injuries, but the guidelines presented here can certainly go a long way toward helping you understand those liabilities.