What Happens if I Get into an Accident with a Company Car?

Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life, no matter where you live. In some ways, it’s a numbers game because with so many vehicles on the road, there will always be collisions. In Nevada, the State Department of Transportation estimates there are about 50,000 reported accidents each year.

Most of us know the drill when an accident happens — check for serious injuries, summon the police and/or emergency medical personnel, exchange contact and insurance information, and settle our nerves. But what happens if the accident takes place in a company car? What differences do you need to be aware of?

The process is generally the same, but there are some differences from having an accident in your own car. Here’s a rundown of some questions you might have following a company car accident.

Who is Responsible For the Damages?

Company Car, Limousine

The question of liability is straightforward when you’re driving your own car. Responsibility either falls to you or the other driver and depends on who is determined to be at fault. That can get resolved in part by the responding police officers. Still, it often also depends on how insurance companies evaluate the accident and may ultimately result in litigation.

The issue of fault gets more complicated in an accident involving a company car. Generally speaking, under the legal concept of “respondeat superior,” your employer is liable for injuries and damages when employees are involved in accidents driving a company car. The critical question is whether the employee was using the vehicle during their work responsibilities. Respondeat superior holds employers accountable for the actions of their employees, as long as those actions were not reckless or negligent.

In Nevada, more specifically, this goes by the term “vicarious liability,” which essentially means that in most circumstances, employers assume responsibility for the acts of their employees. However, suppose you, as the employee, were under the influence of alcohol, driving at an unsafe speed, or doing something else that suggests a disregard for others. In that case, the court can override vicarious liability and hold you individually responsible instead.

Things get tricky if you’re driving the company car for personal matters. If, for instance, you’re in an accident while driving to get groceries for your family, the doctrine of vicarious liability will probably not apply. The party that is ultimately determined to be liable by the court likely shoulders the costs of repairs, medical care, and lost wages for anyone injured in the accident.

The experienced personal injury attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group can help you sort out the issue of liability involving an accident in your company car. We’ll study the facts and evidence, review the law, and provide you with a recommended strategy for resolving claims resulting from such accidents.

Whose Insurance Will Cover the Repairs?

A big question on most people’s minds after an accident involves insurance coverage. You may wonder whose insurance will carry the financial responsibility for making repairs and providing compensation to those who’ve been injured.

In accidents involving your personal car, the answer will depend on who is at fault in the accident. If the investigation and the court determine that you caused it, your insurance company will be on the hook for payments.

Things are different with a company car. Because the company car is owned by your employer, the employer is responsible for making sure the car is fully insured, as required under the law. So, whether you’re at fault or not, the employer’s insurer pays for the damages.

The question gets more complicated if the court determines that you were driving recklessly or negligently. In that instance, your insurance may be responsible for repairs and injury reimbursement.

Every case has a unique set of facts. The attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group will evaluate the facts and help guide you toward a positive resolution.

What To Do After an Accident in a Company Car

It probably goes without saying, but your first thoughts should be for your own welfare and the welfare of anyone else involved in the accident. It’s essential to determine whether anyone needs emergency medical care before worrying about fault and liability in connection with a company car accident.

Once you attend to injuries or medical needs, your next step should be to capture documentation of what happened. Take pictures of the scene, including the damage to your car and the others involved in the accident. Make a diagram of the roads with intersections on a piece of paper, and note where the cars were before and after the collision.

If you feel up to it, getting the contact information for any witnesses can help resolve questions of liability further down the road. Of course, if it’s safe to do so, you should also exchange contact information with the other drivers involved. However, the police will also capture that information as a backup.

Before risking an accident by getting behind the wheel of a company car, you should acquaint yourself with company policies. The company may have specific steps for you to follow, such as contacting the human resources or employee security departments and the company’s insurance company.

Policies may also mandate your cooperation with law enforcement and the company’s insurance provider after the accident. Any diversion from the policies could cause problems later in resolving issues of fault, and you certainly want to avoid doing anything that impacts your employment status.

The Accident Lawyers at De Castroverde Law Group Can Help

As you can see, accidents involving company cars sometimes raise complex issues. If you’re in an accident with a company car, consult the attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group as soon as possible. Our team has extensive experience in personal injury law, especially concerning accidents involving buses, trucks, cars, bicycles, or motorcycles. The attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group offer a no-obligation consultation to discuss the particulars of your accident. We’ll review the facts, evidence, and laws and help guide you toward a winning strategy. Call us or contact us online for an appointment.

Photo Credit: Lincoln Town Car by Jason Lawrence is licensed with CC BY 2.0