For many people, driving a car is part of their everyday life. It might be for school runs, to get to work and back or for leisure. Sadly, vehicle incidents are the most common globally.
In addition to this, there may have been legal proceedings to get through. Perhaps liability had to be ascertained and compensation claims made. Lawyers may also have been involved. In some cases, matters may have ended up being resolved in court. It’s a complex and emotional process when the crash involves a person’s own car. When the incident occurs using a company car, there are extra considerations. Let’s take a look at these now.
Consider legal assistance
Attorneys who are experienced in these types of scenarios can prove invaluable. When an accident has occurred, they will work to establish who’s fault it was – and who is liable to pay compensation. They will serve notice to the insurance companies that there could be a potential claim. Lawyers can even help advise regarding vehicle repairs, obtaining rental cars and finding the best medical specialists.
Call the Police and an ambulance
The involved parties need to stay at the incident location until the Police arrive. Their report may be key to proceedings.
An ambulance should be called if people are hurt, but to also ensure there are no undiscovered injuries with those involved. There may be too much adrenaline in the parties concerned for them to feel pain. Hospital check ups (possibly involving x-rays, CT scans and MRI scans) and doctors’ statements will need to be secured.
Photos need to be taken of the injured parties, and the vehicles and their license plates. Pictures of the road and light conditions should also be obtained. Photos of landmarks or road signs will help identify the location.
The names, addresses and contact numbers of the involved parties should be shared. Any witnesses should provide their details, as their statements may also prove key to proceedings.
Decide who was at fault and whether the vehicle was on company business at the time
Employers take steps to insure their company vehicles. In many cases this means they will pay for any injuries or damage caused if their employees have a crash. One factor which may affect this is whether their employee was at fault during the incident. Employers will ask what actually happened, and seek to identify any reckless behaviour. Employers will want to know if any company rules were broken at the time the event occurred. They may even sack their staff if they were found to be at fault.
Employers will also ask why the worker was using the company car at the time of the incident. If someone was merely on their way to work or returning home, they will not be classed as using the vehicle for work purposes. The same thing applies if the worker was using the car for personal reasons or errands. This could mean that the employee will become liable for any damages and expenses. This can create extra issues for the legal case too, and it enforces the fact that attorney appointment is frequently needed.
The best place for an employee to be is when the following are true:
- The employment procedures clearly define ‘work use’.
- The employee was clearly working at the time (eg running work errands or going to a training event).
Understand Vicarious Liability (Respondent Superior)
This legal phrase means that although the employee was responsible for the event, the employer will be held financially accountable. This is because businesses should be held responsible for the activities of their staff. If an employee was definitely using the vehicle for work purposes, their boss cannot make them pay for any expenses incurred.
If the employee was not at fault, however, the employer will not be legally responsible. An additional phrase to learn is ‘comparative negligence’ which says that if the collision was your fault more than anyone else’s, you can’t claim for your own damages.
Realize there could be other exceptions
Some company policies don’t cover all incidents. One example is collision insurance. In certain scenarios the company will not be legally liable, making the employee financial and legally responsible for what occurred. This would make it even more important for the employee to prove the event was not their fault.
It’s also important to know that different American states have different laws when it comes to establishing liabilities.
As we have seen, things are more complicated when a crash involves a company car. The outcome may range from a business paying all costs to the person involved having to cover it all. Legal assistance can be key in helping prove who was responsible and who should pay out.
- Are Rental Companies Liable for Accidents Involving their Vehicles?
- Why Vehicle Wrap Marketing Could Redefine Success for Your Business & Tips You Need to Know
- Market Segments of the Event and Meeting Planning Business
- How to Hire and Retain Good Employees
- The Enthusiastic Employee: 16 Myths on Employee and Performance Management