Every year there are six million accidents reported in the United States. There are times even employees cause accidents using company vehicles. Such accidents could be serious or not. Continue reading to know what to do if an employee is involved in an accident with company vehicles. Your role as an employer is first to find out if everybody is fine and then determine who is responsible for the damages. This determination is not easy as it depends on the reasons that caused 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. Vicarious liability is not applicable in case the employer caused the accident when going to a place that was not authorized by an employer or was driving outside the scope of employment.
An employer will not be liable in case an accident is caused when the employee is committing a crime. 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. It is possible for employers to avoid liability if an employee causes an accident and was not doing activities that are work-related. In a court of law, it is termed as a frolic, and here employers hold their employees personally responsible.
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. Instead of pursuing such a driver the best thing is to file a worker’s compensation claim. You will not be compensated for damages and suffered pain however your medical bills and lost income are covered in worker’s compensation. 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. Never attempt to handle accidents caused using company vehicles on your own as they can be quite complicated. There are company policies that cover employee collisions though not all. 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.