If you have been injured in a car crash, the law allows you to file an injury claim against the driver of the car. If that car driver was on work or driving a company vehicle, the law allows you to sue his or her employer.
In many ways, accidents involving a driver in a company vehicle often complicates issues even if that driver was not at fault. The primary concern in such as case is whether the driver of the company car was ‘on official duty’ or not at the time of the crash or acting in his or her capacity as a worker of that company. If this is the case, the company is fully liable for the actions of the driver – vicarious liability.
According to the rules of vicarious liability, companies are liable for the action of their workers. That means if a worker chooses not to act in a particular situation or acts irresponsibly, the employer (company) is liable for all the consequences. For instance, if a commercial truck driver runs a stop sign and hits and pedestrian, the company (truck owner) is held responsible for the driver’s reckless driving.
There are specific stipulations to this law, and you need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles to understand them. First, the employee must be engaged in company operations or handling something related to that authorized business for the employer to be held responsible for their actions. Besides, if the worker is found in the act of committing any crime, this will negate the company’s (employer) liability to the employee’s actions.
Another important consideration is the particular type of insurance that the company carries on the vehicle involved in the crash. If the policy doesn’t cover the driver, this may be an indication that they will not be liable if an accident happens. For the driver, this is an issue you should consider before getting behind the wheel of your employer’s vehicle. Even in a situation where the company offers an insurance cover for its driver, the driver should consider adding their own insurance, just to ensure they are fully protected.
If the company vehicle driver drinks too much or exceeds the legal limit to drive, things are different if that driver is involved in an accident. For the motorcycle operator, this means the employer has the right to deny to cover any medical expense and other related damages. For the driver (employee), your intoxication was the primary cause of the crash, and you have a limited number of options. You will neither be eligible for an injury claim with your employer’s insurance service provider nor likely to be approved for the employee’s compensation.
If you are not committing a crime, but you are just using the business car for some joyriding, this activity isn’t covered by the vicarious liability law.
If you are a victim of an accident involving a worker operating a company vehicle, the actions of the worker are crucial to pursuing litigation. In case the employee was not acting on behalf of the company, naming the company in your claim might prove futile. However, if the driver was in an official duty, you can sue the employer.