Car accidents vary in the extent of the damage but they all tend to have a lasting effect on your life. It can lead to injuries, financial harm, pain, suffering, and more. Now, what if the incident involved a company vehicle? Are the laws any different from other accidents? To answer this and more, we have compiled a quick guide covering everything you need to know about accidents involving company vehicles.
When is a company liable for a car accident?
A car accident involving company vehicles can get complicated very fast. Whether or not the company will take liability for the accident is conditional. For starters, if the person driving the car got into a crash within the employment scope (when on-job duties during working hours), the company is liable. According to the legal doctrine, ‘vicarious liability’ an employer is held responsible for the employee’s actions as long as the employee acts within the employment scope. However, if an employee gets involved in an accident during business hours while running personal errands, the company might not be liable for any injuries and property damage.
The company might also fail to take liability if an employee gets involved in a car accident while commuting to or from work. In cases where a company’s car gets involved in an accident while being driven by a non-employee, but under the company’s authorization, then the company might also take liability.
What if the vehicle was driven by an independent contractor?
Let us take an instance where a trucking company provides a truck that it does not own to a trucker. Then in an unfortunate situation and it gets involved in a crash. Well, the owner of the car will often be held liable for any injuries and losses. In such a scenario, the trucking company exercised no control over the vehicle. In other words, the owner is seen to be responsible for things like inspecting and doing truck maintenance, depending on the nature of the accident.
Car Accident Involving a Company Vehicle: Steps to Take
It is imperative to take the right steps at an accident scene involving a company vehicle to avoid compromising your health and any subsequent compensation claims.
Check the Extent of Injuries and Damage
The first step is to ensure that everyone on board is fine. If anyone needs urgent medical attention, call in the paramedics. A medical check-up is still important even in cases of a minor accident. Depending on the nature of the incident, you can look at the extent of damage to the vehicle. Do not move it; wait for the police to arrive at the scene of the incident.
Contact the Police
Even if you get involved in a minor accident with a company vehicle, you must contact the police. The police will comb the scene and compile a report about the incident. The police report is very crucial when seeking legal action or compensation. It is thus important to ensure that you also have a copy of the police report.
The stress and tension of getting involved in a car accident make it hard for victims to gather facts. It can be overwhelming but if you can, get the names, phone numbers, and addresses of the driver and anyone else involved in the accident. Write down the vehicle’s identification number, license plate number, and model. Moreover, gather more details from the driver; enquire if they were on-job during the accident occurrence. Ask about their employer and whether or not the vehicle belongs to the employer.
Collect as much evidence as possible from the car accident scene. Take photos of vehicles involved in the accident as well as the surrounding areas. If there are witnesses around, get their contact details and ask them to give their statements to the police.
Seek Legal Help
An accident claim impacts the business directly and quite often, the company and the insurer will want to avoid taking responsibility. The party’s insurance company will deny a claim or provide the least settlement amount possible. Whichever your situation is, we advise that you seek legal assistance from top car accident lawyers to protect your legal rights. Top auto accident attorneys understand the complexity of laws covering company vehicles and the nature of personal injury cases. They will help prove any fault and handle any dishonest insurance agents that might want to deny you what you deserve.
Beware of Mistakes that Might Hurt Your Case
You should avoid making any mistakes that will affect your case. For example, the other party may trigger conversations to compel you to accept liability, agree that you were at fault, or handle things without police and insurance. This is one mistake you should avoid after a car accident. Your major focus should be ensuring you are safe and gathering as much evidence as possible at the accident scene. Only discuss the incident with your lawyer, the authorities, insurance agent, or medical professionals.
If you or your loved one get involved in a car accident involving a company vehicle, then taking the right steps is paramount to protecting your rights. It is advisable that you first seek medical help to take care of your health even if you feel fine. Also, gather as much evidence as you can and seek legal assistance from a top auto accident lawyer.