Having access to a company car can be one of two things: a godsend or a complete nightmare. Being able to let you and your employees do work-related tasks without paying for fuel is a win, but what happens if the car is involved in an accident? Whether it’s a minor fender bender or a major collision, who is liable?
In most scenarios, the employer is responsible for the actions of their employees. Legally known as “vicarious liability,” employers are held accountable for any and all negligent actions of their employees, particularly when they are behind the wheel. However, it’s important to keep in mind that for an accident to be within one’s course of employment, it must be authorized by one’s employer or deemed an authorized act by one’s employer.
Another important thing to consider is the type of insurance coverage you have. While many businesses have insurance coverage that covers their employees, there are some that don’t. If you drive a company car, you’ll want to verify the type of coverage your company offers before getting behind the wheel.
Company Car Contracts
Some employers create contracts that employees must sign before being allowed to drive a company vehicle. If this is the case, it’s imperative that you read the fine print and understand the contract completely. Even if you were using the company vehicle for work purposes, it might release the employer from liability claims.
If you’re considering taking your company vehicle for a joy ride, you may want to think again. If an employee uses a company car off the clock and causes an accident, you might not be protected from personal liability claims. If you’re in doubt, it’s a best to contact an automobile accident attorney for clarity.
Known as “frolicking” in some areas, this is when an employee utilizes a company vehicle without instruction from their employer. In this instance, as an employer, you may not be legally required to cover the damages your employee causes since they were using the vehicle for non-work sanctioned activities.
If you’ve been involved in an accident while driving a company car, you should seek legal assistance. In addition, if you’ve been hit by someone driving a company car and want compensation for damages and injuries sustained, an auto accident attorney can help you get the money you deserve.