What Do You Do After an Accident with a Company Car? Your Step by Step Guide
Ever wondered what to do in the event of an accident with a company vehicle? This is of particular concern to those in transportation-heavy industries like trucking.
It’s stressful enough having a car accident in your personal vehicle. When it’s in the property of someone who can fire you, all bets are off.
In the following article, we’ll talk about the essential steps you must take immediately following the accident. Let’s begin!
1. Notify Police
This should be your first step, even if it’s a light fender-bender. We’re assuming your company owns the vehicle, and you don’t own the company. You don’t have the same sort of “handshake” freedoms that you would with your personal vehicle.
Call your nearest law enforcement agency and wait for them to arrive. Limit your interactions with the other party if the accident involves two or more vehicles.
2. And Your Employer
After calling the police, don’t take the phone away from your ear. Immediately dial your employer and let them know of the occurrence. They may want to send someone out to photograph the vehicle and get a statement.
3. Get Your Story Straight
According to The Cagle Law Firm in St. Louis, dishonesty often drives companies to fire employees for offenses that would otherwise draw a simple warning. Replay what happened in your head from as unbiased of a point-of-view as you can. Make sure that what you share with law enforcement and your employer is true to the best of your knowledge.
4. Take Pictures
All company car insurance programs require photographic evidence per their company car policy whenever there’s an accident. Some may send a professional representative to handle it, but that’s usually impractical. So make sure you grab some shots on your phone before leaving the scene.
5. Have Your Insurance Information Ready
Any time a car accident in a company vehicle occurs, you want to make sure you’ve got insurance information at-the-ready. For these types of incidents, you’ll want to share your company’s current proof-of-insurance with the responding officer.
They also may ask for your personal insurance card. Give them everything. And if you don’t have a physical copy on-hand, bring it up on your phone while you’re waiting to speak with the officer.
6. Know and Follow Company Protocols
Hopefully, you’ve taken the time to learn your company’s protocols ahead of time. Most make you sign off on it at orientation, so take the time to really understand it.
If you get paid while driving a company vehicle, it’s the very least you can do. It’ll also prove handy if you’re ever in one of these unfortunate situations.
7. Honor Your Legal Obligations
Eventually, you’ll be allowed to leave the scene of the accident. But what happens after a car accident in a company vehicle? Well, that depends on the circumstances of the accident.
If no citations are issued, then you’ll just be jumping through the insurance hurdles to the extent that your company makes you. That could mean on-the-record interviews and written statements.
Some accidents can lead to legal jeopardy as well (i.e., excessive speeding, intoxicants, etc.). You could be required to participate in civil or criminal proceedings regardless of your role in the accident.
What to Do Next
Now that you know what to do immediately following the incident, it’s time to think about prevention. Brush up on your defensive driving skills and actively focus on them when you’re behind the wheel.
And if you own a business where travel is a part of your operations, check out these three tips for covering employees on business trips. Best of luck, and safe driving!