WHO PAYS IN CASE OF A COMPANY CAR ACCIDENT?
WHY SHOULD YOU HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?
Having a company car at your disposal is no doubt a blessing, but there are times when it can prove to be quite a burden, especially if you get into a corporate car accident due to your own negligence. Since the car is registered under the company’s name and since there are multiple parties involved, it can be quite challenging to determine the party liable for the damages.
The law that encompasses this dilemma is the doctrine of “respondeat superior.” This doctrine states that the employer will be held liable for the actions of the employee if they were acting within the scope of employment. This means that the employer will only be held liable if the employee gets into a car accident during the scope of employment. For example, if you get into an accident after office hours, this would be out of the scope of employment.
On the other hand, if you get into an accident while driving to work, this will be within the scope of employment and the employer will be held liable even if you decide to fall asleep behind the wheel. The employer will have every right to fire you for your negligent behavior but will be legally obliged to pay the damages no matter how negligent you might be.
THE INSURANCE COMPANY
In order for any vehicle to legally operate on the road, it has to be insured by an insurance company. If you are at fault while driving a company car, the insurance company will pay the damages on behalf of the employer. However, in most cases there is a deductible or if the damages exceed the coverage, the company will have to pay this cost. The employer has every right to request that the employee compensates for this amount.
In some cases, if the driver is extremely negligent while operating the vehicle, the insurance company may besiege the employer to pay the damages. In such scenarios, the employer can request the employee to pay a certain portion of the damages but this depends on the contractual relationship between the two parties.
By now, it should be apparent that the law that governs this issue is quite complicated. To understand who is legally obliged to cover the damages, we would recommend contacting a personal injury lawyer or a trial attorney in Panama City FL that specializes in corporate car accidents.
Only a personal injury lawyer can analyze the facts of the case and determine who is legally obliged to cover the damages under the law.