Who is Liable in a Company Vehicle Accident?

Company Car Accident

Most people have some idea of what happens when they get into an accident with another driver who was driving their own personal vehicle. But what happens if you get injured in an accident involving an employee who was driving a company vehicle at the time of the crash?

Will the other driver be liable for your injuries, medical expenses, and related losses? Does their employer have any legal obligation to compensate you? What if the employee was using their personal vehicle for company activities? These are all vital questions that you should ask to make sure that you recover the losses you incurred in the crash.

What is a Company Vehicle?

In general, insurance companies define company vehicles as cars, vans, trucks, vans, or other kinds of commercial vehicles used for business purposes. But it’s important to note that personal vehicles may likewise be considered company vehicles if drivers use them for company business purposes, such as attending a conference or sales calls, among others.

How is Liability Determined in a Company Vehicle Accident?

In company vehicle accident cases, which are based on personal injury laws, employers can be held accountable for their employee’s actions under the vicarious liability doctrine. This applies to situations where the careless or negligent actions of an employee result in injury to another individual.

For instance, if the employee while driving the company vehicle crashes into another vehicle, the employer’s insurer could be responsible for covering injuries sustained by the other driver. The same goes if the employee hits a bicyclist, pedestrian, or a piece of property.

But for vicarious liability to apply in a company vehicle accident, specific requirements must be met. The employee driving the company car must be an official employee of the company, and not an independent contractor. However, making this distinction can be complicated, especially when it involves workers in the gig economy, such as those who drive for ridesharing companies. 

Likewise, the driver must’ve been working or on the clock when the crash occurred. For instance, if the driver of the company vehicle was heading to a job site, sales call, or meeting, they would be considered on the clock and working for the company. Conversely, if the accident occurred before or after work hours or while they were not doing anything related to work, the vicarious liability doctrine may not apply.

Depending on the situation, the employer and the employee could be held responsible for the crash. In some cases, the employer and employee might have separate insurance policies that could cover injury claims.

Seek Legal Help From a Top Sarasota Car Accident Attorney

The best way to ensure that you understand and explore your options for recovering financial compensation after a company vehicle accident is to discuss your specific case with the skilled Sarasota car accident attorney or Matthews Injury Law. Set up your complimentary initial consultation with our Sarasota car accident attorney by filling out our online form or calling our office at 941-877-5800.