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Are employers held responsible for company car accidents?

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2023 | Personal Injury |

A common “perk” by many employers is to provide their staff with company cars. However, that convenience can become catastrophic when an accident occurs. Employees could be responsible for damages should a collision with another motor vehicle occur.

Employers throughout the United States pay out approximately 25 billion dollars for work-related crashes. Compensation for victims ranges from can be in the five figures for non-fatal injuries and six figures for fatalities.

Who is liable?

Since businesses are commonly liable for employees’ actions due to driving being a part of their job, the accident will likely be covered by the employer’s auto insurance. However, specific scenarios can see an employee using the car for personal use, meaning that they could be responsible for the crash and potentially facing legal action by the accident victim.

Those who work for the federal government could be protected by the Federal Tort Claims Act, again only if they were performing work-related duties. Most accidents of this nature are covered by the employer’s liability insurance that spares the employee legal action that would require them to pay for damages and any legal fees.

Other scenarios

Exceptions exist that could see the employee facing serious legal consequences, not to mention putting the status of their employment in question:

  • Employees who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol could be held responsible for the accident
  • Staff members using the company car for personal use when they are supposed to be working
  • Employment contracts for those who are professional drivers, whether the mode of transportation is a taxi or semi-truck, have language spelling out employee liability for crashes

Before accepting the responsibility of driving a company car, employees should go through the language of their employment contract with attention to all the details. Insight from an attorney can also have its benefits. Contact a workers’ compensation specialist for a free consultation at 610-892-9300 or reach out online.