Company Car Accident: Who Pays?
If you are hit by someone driving a company car and you sustain injuries or property damage, what effect does this have on a subsequent lawsuit? Normally, these accidents are solely decided by the Law of Negligence. Negligence means fault.
Considerations such as speed, weather conditions, driver impairment and driver conduct are considered in all accidents. However, if you are injured by someone driving a company car, other considerations may apply. In these situations, the Law of Agency may apply.
In general, if you are injured by an employee driving a company car and they are acting within the course and scope of their employment, the company can be held liable under the theory of Respondeat Superior. The theory is that since the employer was performing the company’s work at the time of the accident, the company, in addition to the employee driver, should be responsible for any negligence of the employee.
Who is responsible?
If you are unable to settle your claim, your attorney will file a complaint on your behalf against the person driving the company car. Also be aware that other considerations come into play. For example, what if the employee was driving a company car, but it was off hours and they were using the vehicle for personal, not company business? Who is responsible then, the person or the company?
The company owner of the car could still be found liable in this situation. A car owner including a company is required to use due care when allowing someone to drive the vehicle. If the company failed to check the employee’s driving record or should have known that the employee had medical or other conditions that impacted the operation of the vehicle, it can be found liable for negligent entrustment of the vehicle. Vehicle owners can also be found liable if the accident was caused by the owner’s failure to properly maintain the vehicle. Depending on whether the car is owned or leased, an additional company could be responsible for vehicle maintenance.
However, there are many companies which have policies stating that the employee is not allowed to drive the car on their personal time. These situations make it difficult to figure out what exactly the employee was doing at the time of the accident. Hiring a personal injury attorney will help determine if the at fault party was using the company car for work or on their personal time in order to get the case settled.
If you have been involved in a car accident with a person driving a company vehicle, contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will make the claims process much easier. Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process and assist you in dealing with insurance companies and the company of the party involved.
To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.