Enjoying a company car’s perks is always pleasant, but committing an accident in company car will land you in trouble for sure. There are many complex legal procedures following such an incident. Here, we will try to give you an overview of such cases.
Let us first have a look a significant term in such cases:
“Respondeat superior,” which means that a master is liable for his/her servant’s wrongdoing. In modern context and layman terms, it is considered as “vicarious liability.”
In case of vicarious liability, an employer carries the liability for the actions committed by their employees. Suppose the delivery van driver breaks the traffic rules and runs over a pedestrian. In this case, the employer can be liable for the driver’s action, as the driver committed the crime in the line of his duty. In the same manner, a car accident in company car can bring liability to the company.
However, it should be kept in mind that the employer must sanction an act during the employment. Insurance policy carried by the employer is also an essential factor. Most of the companies adhere to collision coverage policies extending to employees driving company vehicles. In case you are provided a vehicle by the company, you should clearly talk about these things before taking on the job.
Criminal Activity With Company Cars
Imagine that a salesman drives a company car regularly to take prospective clients to expensive dinners and lunches. On one such occasion, the person takes out a critical client at a dinner to increase the business.
While having dinner, the salesperson had some extra glasses of alcohol, and while driving back hit a divider, a parked car breaking his/her arm in an accident. If the amount of alcohol that he had exceeded his employer’s mandate. In this case, it’s not a criminal act. The employer is also in a safe spot and can refuse indemnity to both the car owner and his employee.
Here, the salesperson cannot claim against the company providing insurance to the employer or through worker’s compensation insurance even while being in a car accident in company car.
Using a Company Vehicle For Personal Use
If you are using your company vehicle for personal errands during or after the work shift, you need to stop. Suppose you cause an accident while on a personal cause, you might get protection from individual liability.
Being on duty or off duty won’t save the Employee, because the mishap happened during a personal endeavor.
In such cases, the employer is not legally liable for damages incurred by the employee. The accident happened during an activity not related to the company, also known as ‘frolic’ in some jurisdiction.
If you are an employee who has wrecked the company car, seek legal assistance to keep its troubles at bay. It is the best course of action that you can take.
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