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After an accident, you may be looking at paying for your medical treatment and damages to the other party, mainly if it results from your fault. While you may not need to pay the injured party out of pocket if you have adequate insurance coverage, the accident may impact your insurance premiums going forward.
Taking such responsibilities is relatively bearable when you know you are to blame for an accident. Unfortunately, there are situations when you could be held liable for an accident you weren\’t actively involved in.
A typical example is when your employee gets involved in an accident while driving a company vehicle.
Liability if an Employee Is in an Accident While Driving a Company Vehicle
An employer is responsible for damages resulting from the actions or inactions of their employees under the vicarious liability doctrine. The doctrine also goes by the name \”respondeat superior,\” Latin for the \”superior should answer.\”
However, vicarious liability is limited to when the employee is engaged in activity within their scope of work. Scope of work refers to any task within the employee\’s job description or one they undertake with authorization from their employer.
For example, if a company delivery person is on the road to and from making a delivery when they cause an accident, their employer will be liable for damages. However, if they decide to take a detour on their way back and get into an accident, they will be personally responsible for the accident.
What to Do if Your Employee Caused an Accident
Never Admit Liability, and Instead Hire a Lawyer
You may not be at the scene of the accident at the time and so may not control what your employee may or may not say. Therefore, it is vital to train employees beforehand never to admit liability after an accident, even when they feel they were at fault.
Proving liability is the work of the investigating agents, your insurer, and the other party\’s insurer or lawyer. After your employee gets in an accident with a company vehicle, the right thing to do is let a car accident lawyer from a reputable company such as Dolman Law handle all the legal aspects of your case.
Determine the Employee’s Classification
Liability resulting from employees is highly dependent on their classification. If the employee is a permanent worker, you will be legally liable for damages resulting from their actions.
However, if they are contractual workers, they will be legally liable for accidents resulting from their actions.
It is important to note that classifying an employee as a contractual worker alone does not mean they are. They have to fit the definition of a contractual worker as stipulated in your state\’s laws.
Call Your Insurance Provider
After getting a report of your employees\’ involvement in an accident, it is possible to have a lot on your mind to the extent you could forget critical things that need quick action. Whatever you do, you should not forget to notify your insurer because they will be responsible for settlement if the other party is successful with their claim.
The earlier you can involve your insurer, the more information they can gather that they could use to build their case. So, it is advisable to notify them as soon as you receive information about the accident.
Get Your Employee Into Action
If the employee involved in the accident isn\’t severely hurt, you could ask them to document the scene. Documenting the scene can help your lawyer recreate the scene during the process of assigning liability.
You could also ask them to gather witness testimonies (audio or written), the other party\’s contact information and identification, their car\’s license plates, etc.