What to Do When In A Crash Using A Company Vehicle
Accidents are always daunting, yet their consequences may vary depending on many factors. The challenges that come with car crashes can escalate when in a company vehicle. Unfortunately, mobile workforces don’t come with a 100% chance of being incident-free. There are some accident management practices, including driver training, that can be used to limit the risk factors and reduce the frequency of crashes, but the risk cannot be eliminated. Different amounts of damage fall upon both the property and the people involved in the accident. If involved in an accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention to ensure your safety. Since accidents are accompanied by a lot of confusion and overwhelming feelings, we have put together a brief guide to assist you in figuring out what to do in a car accident in a company vehicle.
Why Commercial Accidents Are Different?
Vicarious liability means holding someone who practically didn’t do anything accountable for the actions of someone else. This applies to the majority of commercial accidents, regardless of the type of vehicle involved in the crash. In the event of an auto accident in a company car, the employer of the company is usually held responsible, even if they weren’t driving the car. They should take the responsibility if any of their employees were driving the company car. Since an employee is just an agent of the employer, especially when driving to or from meetings, employers have to step up to compensate their employees and repair any property damage.
What worries most people about getting in a commercial accident is the at-fault party being a major corporation with access to hiring big-name lawyers. Other times, people might get confused or worried about proving liability. The other car’s driver might try to pin it on you or your employer if they believe you have more money to cover the damages. Lawyers usually call this “looking for deep pockets.”
Understand Your State Law
This is one of the most critical factors that makes all the difference in how you are going to handle the aftermath of the crash. Laws vary from one state to another. You need to understand the laws concerning the different issues usually involved in car accidents, such as compensation laws. As the specialized Chattanoogaa car accident attorneys explain, understanding the laws in your state and local area will give you an idea of the type of coverage your employer can offer. This way, you will be able to understand the limitations and scope of their coverage. This is key if you were personally injured in the crash.
Determine Who Is Liable
If the crash was caused by a third-party driver, then they are the ones that should take responsibility for paying for any damage that occurred. In these situations, costs are usually covered by their insurance provider.
In the event of an accident, vicarious liability applies when the person who is using the company car is traveling to or from a work-related matter. These matters include meeting with a client, running errands for work, heading out for a company meeting or training session, or driving to any place requested by the manager of the company. In these cases, the employer of the company is held accountable for covering all damages and compensating their employee.
On the other hand, if your fleet driver was responsible for the accident due to negligent behavior such as texting while driving or driving under the influence, then they have to take full responsibility for the accident. The driver will have to cover the cost of any property damage and compensate the victim.
Call Your Insurance Company
If your car is insured, then your insurance company should cover the costs included in your insurance policy. If there are damages that aren’t included, the at-fault party will be responsible for covering the rest of the costs. On the other hand, if vicarious liability doesn’t apply and your employee is the one who should be held liable, then even if the damages were entirely covered by the company’s insurance policy, the driver should repay the company. This depends on whether the employee was using the car within their scope of duties. If they aren’t carrying out a job-related task, then the responsibility falls entirely on their shoulders. Vicarious liability doesn’t usually apply unless the employee wast on their way to or from work. If they stopped to run a personal errand or an activity or had been driving under the influence, vicarious liability won’t apply in such cases.
Claim Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If you have been injured in a crash while driving or riding in a company car, then you need to consider how workers’ compensation might factor in your case. This comes in especially handy if you have been injured because of a third-party driver who doesn’t have an adequate insurance policy. If the other driver can’t afford to compensate you for the troubles you have gone through and cover the repairs or replacement of your property, your workers’ compensation might be more than essential. Upon seeking this type of compensation, you might end up with a bigger settlement than what you would have received from filing for a claim against the other driver. To decide on the best course of action for your case, it would be wise to seek legal assistance. A specialized lawyer will help you maximize the amount of money you receive.
Auto accidents, regardless of the vehicle type and their causes, can take a toll on many aspects of your life, including your financial state, mental health, and physical wellbeing. However, commercial accidents, in particular, can be more confusing in terms of proving liability. To limit this confusion, you need to take some basic steps to determine who will take care of covering all costs involved. The most essential tip to follow is to seek the necessary legal help to protect yourself and all your rights. With the variation of laws between different states, the liability potentially falling on different parties, insurance companies trying not to pay full compensation, and a plethora of other issues, experienced legal counsel is critical.