Are You Liable if Your Employee is in a Car Accident with the Company Car?

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Articles |Auto Insurance|Are You Liable if Your Employee is in a Car Accident with the Company Car?Perhaps. It depends on what the employee was doing at the time of the accident and where your business is located. This information is from the office of a car accident lawyer in Norristown, PA.

No-Fault Auto Insurance

If your business is located in Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah, you have no-fault auto insurance. Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and New Jersey give drivers a choice between no-fault and at-fault.

No-fault auto insurance was created to reduce the auto accident lawsuit overload on the court system and to eliminate the need for those injured in auto accidents to prove they were not at fault or were not at fault as much as the other driver.

In no-fault states, each driver’s insurance pays that driver’s minor injuries regardless of fault. In many no-fault states, one driver may still sue the other if they suffered damages in excess of a threshold set by state law.

If you are located in a no-fault state and your driver gets into an accident, your insurance will cover the minor injuries of the other driver. Your workers’ compensation insurance may well cover your driver. But if the accident is serious and injuries exceed the threshold in your state, you may be sued and have to establish that your driver was not at fault.

At-Fault Auto Insurance

If you do business in any state except the states listed above, in an accident involving your company vehicle, each drivers’ insurance company will pay for the damages sustained according to the degree of fault of each driver.

The driver who caused the accident will be responsible for the damages to other parties involved. That driver’s insurance company will pay the victims up to the policy limits on the policy. If there are damages in excess of those limits, the victims can sue.

If your business is located in Arkansas, Delaware, or Maryland, you have the option of purchasing add-on insurance that provides the same type of protection that would be available in no-fault states. If you have this additional coverage, your insurance will pay injured parties without determining who was or was not at fault. However, those injured parties can still sue or be sued for injuries and pain and suffering.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation will cover the medical expense and lost wages of the driver of a company vehicle in a car accident if:

  • The driver is an employee of your company;
  • The driver was driving the company vehicle in the course of their regular work duties;
  • The driver was driving the company vehicle in your direction.

Your workers’ compensation insurance may not cover the driver if:

  • The driver is not an employee, but is an independent contractor;
  • The driver took the vehicle without your permission;
  • The driver was doing something illegal when the accident occurred (speeding, running a red light, etc);
  • The driver was using the vehicle as part of regular work duties, but ran a personal errand without your knowledge or permission;
  • The driver was impaired due to drugs or alcohol.

Keep in mind that victims of an accident with your company vehicle, when they have the right to sue, can sue the driver, you, your company, your vehicle mechanic, and the vehicle manufacturers and retailers under various theories of legal liability. Do not skimp on your commercial auto insurance coverage, and be sure to retain the service records of all company vehicles in case they are needed to prove that you maintained your vehicles responsibly.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |Veronica BaxterVeronica Baxter is a blogger and legal assistant living and working in the great city of Philadelphia, she frequently works with Craig Altman, Esq., a car accident lawyer in Media, PA.

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