Motor vehicle accidents involving company-owned cars, trucks, and other
types of vehicles present a large number of legal questions. Who is responsible?
Whose insurance company should pay for the damage? What role does workers’
compensation insurance play? If your company vehicle has been involved
in a collision and the driver is found to be at fault, whether it be you
or one of your employees, the following can help you make sense of what
is to come.
The Insurance Company’s Role
If the company car is insured by a
commercial auto insurance policy, which it should be in order to be legally driven, the insurance
company will cover the resulting damages up to the limits of your policy.
If the accident results in injuries, the responsible party will pay. In
some cases, the responsible employee will be legally responsible to reimburse
their employer for the resulting damages. With that being said, depending
on how the employee was using the company car at the time of the collision,
the employer may also be financially responsible for the damage.
In most cases, employees who drive company cars do so within the scope
of their employment, such as making deliveries, traveling to visit clients,
driving to and from jobsites, and other job duties. Under the legal doctrine of
respondeat superior, employers are legally responsible for the actions of their employees
during the scope of their employment. Therefore, when an employee’s
negligence causes a collision, both the employer and the employee can
be held responsible for injury and property damages.
While a company’s
general liability insurance will most often cover an employee against third-party civil actions for
damages stemming from a car accident, employees who are committing a crime
while driving a company vehicle will not be covered.
When Does Workers’ Compensation Apply?
While liability insurance will cover injuries to third parties in the event
of a collision involving a company vehicle, workers’ compensation
pays for injuries to the company’s employee. This coverage will
pay for an employee’s medical bills, out-of-pocket costs, and a
portion of their lost wages. Similar to general liability insurance, employees
who are injured in a collision while committing a crime will not be covered
by workers’ compensation.
Collisions involving company cars can become complicated fast due to the
number of involved parties. Unfortunately, due to the vast number of moving
parts, insurance companies can make mistakes and deny coverage to the
rightful parties. If you believe you have been wrongfully denied coverage
following a collision involving a company vehicle, our
Houston insurance bad faith lawyers can assert your rights as a policyholder and maximize your chances of
securing the compensation you deserve.
Call 833-7RIGHTS or
get in touch with our office online today to review your options.