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Who Pays for Damages After a Car Accident Involving a Company Car?

businesswoman walking toward her carJobs have a variety of perks, such as driving a company car. The question is, what happens if you get into a crash while driving a company car? What if the other driver is in a company vehicle and is at-fault?

These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered after a car accident in a company vehicle. Our Harrisburg auto accident lawyers explain what to do after this type of incident, liability for damages and who pays compensation. We also explain the potential repercussions at your job.

If you were injured in a company car crash, do not hesitate to contact Schmidt Kramer. We have been helping our clients seek a favorable outcome for their cases for more than 30 years, recovering more than $100 million in compensation on their behalf. We do not get paid unless we win.

Call (717) 727-2669 for your free, no-obligation consultation.

What is a Company Car?

A company car is a vehicle provided by an employer for an employee’s business and personal use. Company vehicles range from standard sedans to luxury vehicles, depending on company policies and the amount of money the employer allots for these vehicles.

These vehicles are commonly used for client meetings, business trips and other work-related activities. Employees can also use company cars for personal purposes, depending on employer rules.

Who is Liable for a Company Car Accident?

This boils down to one main issue, is the driver of the company car liable or is his or her employer liable?

The answer to this question is complicated, as it depends on various factors that are specific to your situation.

If the Other Driver Was in a Company Car…

If the driver caused a crash while performing activities directly related to his or her job, the employer could be held vicariously liable. That means, your lawyer could seek compensation from the employer’s liability insurance.

These are some examples of times when an employer could be held vicariously liable for a company vehicle accident:

  • You were driving to work
  • You were at work
  • You were driving somewhere as told by your employer
  • You were delivering something for work
  • You were doing a work task off site
  • You were transporting passengers for work
  • You were going to a meeting with clients or leaving a meeting with clients

There may be other examples, but you should discuss your specific situation with an experienced lawyer to determine liability for your collision.

These are some examples of situations when vicarious liability is unlikely to apply:

  • You were taking care of personal business, even though you were on the way to work
  • You were driving home
  • You were engaged in reckless driving, such as speeding or distracted driving

If the employer is not vicariously liable, your lawyer may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s personal insurance.

If You Were in the Company Car…

If you were injured in a crash while driving a company car, and you were doing something specifically for your job, you may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries and period of disability. You may also be able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.

You may be asking: what about your personal injury protection coverage in your personal car insurance?

This is a question to ask your lawyer. The experienced attorneys at Schmidt Kramer have extensive knowledge of car insurance laws in Pennsylvania and the coverage that applies to different kinds of accidents. This includes company car accidents.

What If I Am an Independent Contractor Involved in a Company Car Accident?

It is unlikely that an employer could be held liable for a company car accident in which an independent contractor was driving the car. Sometimes employers provide liability insurance for independent contractors, but often these workers purchase their own insurance.

These types of claims would likely proceed the way any other car accident claim would. Victims would seek compensation for medical care from their own insurance. Your ability to file a lawsuit would be governed by Pennsylvania insurance laws.

Can My Employer Make Me Pay for Damages From an Accident in a Company Car?

They might be able to, if you were engaged in negligent or reckless behavior, or were not engaged in work-related activity. This would be governed by the specifics of the crash and your employer’s policies.

However, employers may try to assign liability to you even though you are not at fault. This is a situation where victims should involve an experienced lawyer.

Can I Get Fired for an Accident in a Company Car?

The answer depends on many factors. Here are some of the considerations about firing an employee who was involved in a company car crash:

  • Company Policies: Many companies have clear policies outlined in their employee handbooks regarding company vehicles. These policies typically include what is authorized use and consequences for violating policies. If the accident occurred while you violated company policy, such as driving while drunk or making unauthorized personal use of the vehicle, this could be grounds for termination.
  • Nature of the Accident: The severity and nature of the accident also play a crucial role. Minor accidents with no serious violations of policy or law might lead to a warning or required safety training. However, serious accidents involving negligence or unlawful behavior might lead to termination.
  • Employment Laws: In Pennsylvania, employment is typically “at-will,” meaning your employer can fire you at any time for any reason that is not illegal.
  • Past Record: An employer might also consider your past driving record and overall employment record when deciding if you should be terminated or not. A history of positive performance and safe driving could be in your favor.

How Should I Report an Accident in a Company Car?

When you are involved in an accident in a company car, it is important to report the incident immediately and with honesty. Here are some steps you should take:

  • File a Police Report: Call the police immediately after the accident. The police will come to the scene, assess the situation, and create the report.
  • Inform Your Supervisor or HR Department: Immediately notify your supervisor or the human resources department. They should be able to provide you with the company’s protocol for handling company vehicle accidents.
  • Document the Accident: Take photos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved and any injuries. Gather contact and insurance information from the other parties involved.
  • Contact the Company’s Insurance Provider: Your employer should have insurance for its vehicles. Get the details of this insurance from your HR department and notify the insurance company of the accident.

Accident in a Company Vehicle? Call Schmidt Kramer to Discuss Your Legal Options

If you have been involved in a company car accident, Schmidt Kramer may be able to help you take legal action. We provide crash victims with the clarity and support they need.

For decades, we have been dedicated to helping car crash victims recover compensation for their damages. We do not charge upfront fees to speak with you and no fees while working on your case.

We only get paid if you are compensated. Call (717) 727-2669 today.