Most people recognize their rights when it comes to being involved in an accident in their own cars, but what if the accident were to happen in a company car? Who is required to pay for the damages? Can you be held personally liable or is it your boss’s responsibility? Unfortunately company car liability is a very complicated legal issue that involves a number of factors in determining who pays for damages. If your job involves driving a company car, it would behoove you to be aware of what rights and liabilities you have in the event of an accident.
Car accidents happen on a daily basis, and if your job involves driving around in a company car regularly your chance of being involved in a collision unfortunately increases. . Whether driving a taxi, delivering items in a company truck or van, or any other such activity that requires you to drive around in a company car each day, it is important to arm yourself with the right knowledge in the event an accident occurs while you are on the job.
In the law, there is a concept called the “respondent superior doctrine”. According to this doctrine an employer may be held liable for the actions of employees during their employment – the employer may be held vicariously liable if in fact you have an accident while working on the job. What does vicarious liability mean for an employee? It simply means that if you have a car accident in your company car, your employer might be held liable if you were performing work duties within the scope of your job when the accident occurred. Sounds simple enough, however,it isn’t always clear if the incident happened during the course of employment, at which point, the courts get to decide who is responsible. How does a court make this determination? It does so by determining if a the time the accident occurs you were doing job duties or were what the law has coined taking a “detour” or “frolic”.