Hearing the sickening thump of a collision is bad enough in your own vehicle. But, if you’re driving a company vehicle at the time, it can propel you into a world of anxiety. Who is liable for any damage caused by the accident? If I’m injured, will I get workers’ compensation? The answers depend on several factors. Let’s take a closer look at how to handle a company vehicle accident.
Company Vehicle Accident: Who Is Liable?
The answer to this very important question will depend on several factors.
All companies that entrust their vehicles to their employees should have a company vehicle policy. This is important in the event of an accident because you will need to consult your company’s vehicle accident procedure to see who is liable.
What Were You Doing at the Time?
This is the first question that your company’s insurer and your company will want to know. It makes a huge difference to the question of liability. If you were using the car for company business, the company vehicle accident policy will pay for damages and injury caused.
What qualifies as company business? This may mean traveling to meet clients, traveling to job sites, making deliveries, or collecting supplies for the business. Anything that falls within the remit of your role.
A gray area is whether policies cover you for traveling to and from work. Consult the company vehicle accident policy to see their definition in this case. In many policies, this is not considered a company business.
When Might an Employee Be Liable?
If you were using the vehicle in a personal capacity and were at fault, the liability may fall on you.
There can also be consequences beyond liability for the accident. If your driving behavior fell short of the standards of your company’s internal policy, you may be subject to an internal disciplinary process. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may even lose your job.
Even if you are using the vehicle for company business, you may be partly liable. That’s because whenever you are driving, you have a duty of care towards other road users. If your driving fell short of this standard, and the other party can prove it, they could sue you.
How Does Personal Injury Protection Work?
There are ten states in the union that require Personal Injury Protection (no-fault) (PIP) auto insurance. Florida is one of them.
PIP coverage means that whether you caused the accident or not, there is a safety net to cover your immediate medical expenses. Its goal is to provide 80% of coverage for medical bills incurred through injury in the car accident, up to a value of $10,000.
This is a minimum amount. Your company may choose to provide a higher level of coverage, which may attract a higher premium.
How Does Property Damage Liability Work?
Property damage Liability (PDL) auto insurance pays for damage to the other party’s property. This covers the damage that you have caused. This coverage must also cover a minimum of $10,000.
This is also a requirement under Florida state law for all vehicle owners.
Will Workers’ Comp Insurance Cover Me?
The law requires all employers to have workers’ comp insurance. This can provide coverage in the event of an accident.
If you sustain an injury and need time off after a company vehicle accident, it’s likely that you will receive workers’ compensation benefits.
What Is Vicarious Liability?
Vicarious liability is a legal term that you may encounter if you have an accident in a company vehicle.
In this context, it refers to the liability your employer potentially has for your actions. This liability differs from state to state.
For example, say you were involved in a company vehicle accident in Tampa.
In the state of Florida, there are three ways that your employer could be responsible.
Firstly, if the accident took place while you were using the vehicle for your employment, regardless of fault. Secondly, if the vehicle your employer provided was not mechanically sound and they failed to fix it. Finally, if your employer knew that you were a high-risk driver.
This may mean that your employer knew that you had a history of driving infractions. This could include speeding, driving under the influence, or other forms of reckless driving.
Could I Be Sued if I’m at Fault?
Sadly, the answer to this question is yes, you could.
PIP coverage only covers up to 80% of medical bills, up to a value of $10,000. PDL coverage may only cover $10,000 of damage to the other party’s vehicle.
If there is a shortfall, and you are at fault, the other party can pursue a final judgment by filing a civil suit against you.
How To Handle A Company Vehicle Accident
If you have a car accident in a company vehicle, The first thing to do is not to panic. Take a deep breath, and go through the normal procedures for handling a car accident.
Check whether anyone is hurt and call for medical help if so. Move yourself and your vehicle so that you are out of danger. Then call the police to report the accident.
Contact your employer. They will take you through the company vehicle accident procedure and let you know that information to gather. They can contact the insurer.
Make sure that you do not get into discussions about responsibility. Tempers often flare in these situations. There will be time later to discuss this.
Find out how to get hold of the police report. This can then form part of the company vehicle accident report.
Call a Specialist Lawyer
This is not a time for you or your employer to go it alone. You need specialist legal help from an established car accident lawyer.
They will be able to guide you through the complicated processes to follow. They will also help you to understand liability and how to proceed. As well as, help you to get coverage for your medical expenses and any compensation that you are entitled to.
Get Company Vehicle Accident Legal Support Today!
A company vehicle accident sure is a stressful experience. But with proper legal advice and support, you can make sure that you get the best possible outcome.
Car Accident Lawyer Tampa is here to help! We specialize in making sure that Florida drivers get the compensation they deserve after a company vehicle accident.
Click here to schedule a free consultation with us today!