Who Pays if You’re in an Accident in a Company Car?
The Complexities of Company Car Accidents
Company cars are more than just a nice perk; they serve a practical purpose. Many employees travel extensively for their jobs, and providing them with a company car can be a beneficial tax write-off for employers.
Accidents in company cars are common, often leading to complex legal liability issues. Questions frequently arise about who compensates an injured motorist – the employee or the company. Similarly, what happens if you are injured while in the company vehicle? At Naqvi Injury Law, our Las Vegas car accident attorneys specialize in analyzing these intricate scenarios to determine who should bear the cost.
When is Your Employer Liable?
In many instances, employers are legally liable when their employee gets into an accident in a company car. This is due to a legal concept called vicarious liability. However, for this to apply, the employee must have been acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident.
Understanding Vicarious Liability
Vicarious liability is a legal concept that holds an employer accountable for their employees’ actions when the employee injures someone while performing their job. The critical point here is that the employee must have been furthering their employer’s business in some capacity at the time of the accident for vicarious liability to apply.
Fault & Car Accidents
Your employer is not vicariously liable unless you are at fault for the crash. Drivers are typically at fault when they make a mistake that leads to a collision, such as speeding, failing to yield, or driving distracted. Nevada recognizes comparative fault, as found in NRS 41.141, which means that two or more parties could share the blame for a wreck.
Criminal Actions & Vicarious Liability
There are limits to vicarious liability, even if an employee acts within the scope of employment. For instance, if an employee commits a crime, such as drunk driving, the employer can usually avoid vicarious liability.
Personal Liability for Accidents in a Company Car
In certain situations, an employee will be responsible for paying compensation. This typically happens when vicarious liability does not apply, or the employee has committed a crime. For example, if you were running a personal errand while driving the company vehicle and caused an accident, the victim cannot sue your employer, so they will come after you. It’s crucial to ensure that you have insurance that covers the company car. If you do, then the policy might cover the accident. If not, you could be sued personally, and the victim could come after your assets.
Receiving Compensation as a Victim
If another driver is to blame for the accident while you were driving your company car, you can make a claim on that driver’s insurance for costs such as medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, if the other driver is uninsured, you might qualify for workers’ compensation benefits or have an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy that covers the company car. These benefits will not pay for pain and suffering, but they can cover a portion of the financial losses.
Determining Fault & Vicarious Liability
Not every accident is clear-cut. Often, insurance adjusters will decide who is to blame and whether vicarious liability applies. If insurance companies disagree, the dispute could go to trial.
Contact Naqvi Injury Law Today
Our team of attorneys, lead by Farhan Naqvi, can help you untangle legal liability issues, including whether vicarious liability applies. For assistance, please schedule a free consultation with a Las Vegas car accident attorney today.