Accidents happen. In fact, there are around 6 million car crashes every year in the United States.
Whether you’re at fault or not, you have to deal with the aftermath of the accident. This includes filing an insurance claim, seeking medical attention, and calling the police. But what happens if you were driving a company vehicle during the wreck?
Who’s responsible for the damages and do you handle the scene following the crash differently? Keep reading to learn what to do (and what not to do) after accidents at work that involve a company vehicle.
Who Pays for Car Accidents at Work?
By law, company vehicles need to be insured. That means that if you’re involved in a work-related accident and it’s your fault, the insurance company will pay.
Expenses covered by the insurance company include both damages to the vehicle and physical injury. All parties should seek medical attention from the top car accident doctors following a crash.
Any damages or injuries that aren’t covered by the company plan are paid by the responsible party. Here’s where things can get a little sticky.
The car insurance policy on a company car is most likely in the employer’s name, which means the responsibility falls on them. But several factors impact whether the company holds the employee responsible for payment.
Was the employee driving the vehicle for non-approved use? Did the employee drive recklessly or break other traffic laws? Were they under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
All of these factors can impact who pays for the damages.
If the employee was driving a company vehicle during scheduled working hours (i.e. a delivery truck or van), the employer’s auto insurance should cover most damages. If the employee was driving a company car after hours or for non-approved use, the employer may seek reimbursement.
What to Do Following Car Accidents at Work
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re ever involved in a car accident while driving a company vehicle.
Words to Live By
Both the insurance company and attorneys will use a lot of legal jargon when determining who is at fault for a car accident at work. Some common phrases you might hear include negligence, liability, third party, and damages.
The most important question to answer is whether or not the employee was negligent and liable for the crash. Negligence means the driver was acting irresponsibly and liability means they caused the accident and are therefore responsible for the damages.
Damages encompass everything from physical injury and vehicle repairs to lost wages and therapy.
The third-party in a work-related accident is the other vehicle involved. Both the employer and employee are the main players, whereas the other driver is known as the third-party and usually the one seeking compensation.
Protect Yourself and Your Company
When car accidents at work happen both the employer and employee should know their rights. In many cases, the employer is responsible for the actions of their employees – as long as they’re working within the scope of their employment.
On the flip-side, if the employee is acting negligibly or using the work vehicle for non-approved use, they may be held liable for any damages.
Need more tips on when to call a lawyer or how to handle work-related issues? Check out our blog for up-to-date advice and information.