Small Business Brief


I Had an Accident In the Company Car: Who’s Liable?

Every year, about 6 million car accidents occur in the United States. While most of these involve personal vehicles, others involve company-owned vehicles.

If you’ve been involved in a road accident while driving in a company vehicle, you might not know what to do. The first step is to get treatment and ensure the safety of any other passengers in the car. After that, you’ve to get down to seeking compensation for your injuries and losses.

So, who is liable? Your employer? Their auto insurance provider? Your own personal injury insurance provider?

Continue reading for detailed insight.  

Circumstances Under Which You Were Driving the Company Vehicle

In most cases, your employer or their insurance coverage provider will be liable for any losses resulting from an accident involving a company vehicle. However, this will depend on the circumstances under which you were using the vehicle.

For instance, if you were driving the vehicle outside work hours or using it to run a personal errand (regardless of whether it was during work hours), your employer will probably not be held liable for your injuries.

There are other instances when the circumstances of car use are not clear-cut.

Let’s say you’re on a company-approved mission. Perhaps you’re taking an important client for lunch. You end up having one too many glasses of wine. You’re now driving under the influence and on your way back, you hit a pedestrian and injure them.

Here, you’ll be held personally liable for the pedestrian’s injuries – not your employer. Although you were on a business errand in a company car, you got behind the wheel under the influence. This is an individual crime.

The Insurance Policy Your Employer Has

There are several types of insurance policies an employer can purchase for company vehicles. There’s liability coverage, medical payment coverage, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, non-owned coverage, among others.

The coverage your employer had at the time of the accident will play a big role in determining who pays for any liabilities. For example, if you hit another car while driving a company vehicle, liability coverage will pay for the other driver’s car damages and bodily injuries.

If that’s all the insurance they had, you must go after your employer for compensation, assuming you sustained personal injuries. But if they also had medical payment coverage, the insurance company will pay for your injuries.

Do You Have Your Own Personal Injury Coverage?

You can purchase personal injury insurance in an individual capacity, regardless of whether your employer has adequate injury coverage for anyone who uses company vehicles.

If you have this coverage, you’re free to seek compensation from your insurance provider. You’ll get compensation, even if you were at fault for the accident. To improve your chances of getting adequate compensation, hire a car accident lawyer.

Who’s Liable? It Depends

Driving a company vehicle has its perks. You don’t have to worry about wear and tear or gas money. But things can take a nasty turn if you’re involved in an accident, especially regarding who is held liable.

Having read this article, you now know the various circumstances under which your employer, their insurance company, or yourself, can be held liable.

Keep reading our blog for more helpful insights.