I’ve Been in an Accident With a Company Car in Chula Vista: What Should I Do?
David Muñoz | October 29, 2022 | Car Accidents
Many companies provide their employees with a company car. In addition to being a nice perk, the vehicles serve a purpose. The company intends for the employee to use the vehicle for company business.
However, what happens when you are in an accident in a company car in Chula Vista? Are you responsible for the accident, or is your company? The answer depends on several factors.
The Accident Was Not Your Fault
The other driver is responsible for damages if the accident was not your fault. You would file an insurance claim with the other driver’s liability car insurance provider. The insurance company investigates the crash to determine liability and damages.
- The cost of medical treatment and care
- The loss of income, benefits, and diminished earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent impairments, disfigurement, disability, and scarring
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Decrease in quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish and trauma
California is an at-fault state for insurance claims. Therefore, you must prove the other driver caused your accident and that your injuries and damages resulted from the car accident. Otherwise, you cannot recover compensation for your damages.
Fault means who is to blame for the accident. Typically, you must prove the elements of negligence to establish fault and liability for damages. Those elements are duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
A Chula Vista car accident lawyer can handle the investigation and gather evidence to prove fault and liability. The attorney can also sort out the various insurance policies to determine the various sources of compensation for your injuries and damages. Sometimes, your employer might have insurance coverage that could apply, even if another person caused the accident.
Personal Liability for a Car Accident While Driving a Company Car
The person who causes the car accident is generally liable for the damages sustained by accident victims. However, who is liable if the driver does not own the car?
Typically, car insurance remains with the vehicle. Therefore, if the vehicle owner has minimum liability insurance for the vehicle, the insurance company should be liable for up to $35,000 in damages.
However, many companies have larger liability insurance policies covering their vehicles. They may also have umbrella liability policies that cover their company vehicles. These policies could have much higher policy limits.
If the insurance on the vehicle does not cover the damages, the accident victim could sue the driver who caused the accident. A car accident lawsuit seeks compensation for damages. The company could also be responsible for damages even though an employee was driving the vehicle.
Vicarious liability holds an employer responsible for the negligent acts of their employee. Therefore, if an employee causes an accident while driving a company car, the employer might be liable for damages caused by the employee. Examples of negligent causes of car accidents include:
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
- Failing to follow traffic laws (i.e., running red lights)
Businesses have more resources to pay personal injury judgments than employees. Therefore, holding the company liable in a car accident case could improve your chances of receiving full compensation for all damages.
Limitations to Vicarious Liability for a Car Accident in a Company Vehicle
There are limits to vicarious liability. The employee must have been acting within their ordinary course of employment. In other words, the employee must have been engaged in an activity that benefited the company.
For example, vicarious liability should apply if the employee was driving the vehicle to a job site or driving a company car to make deliveries. However, if the employee used the company car to run personal errands or pick up their kids at school, vicarious liability might not apply if the employee causes an accident.
That does not mean liability insurance covering the vehicle would not apply. It just means that you might not be able to hold the company liable since the employee was not “on the clock” at the time of the car crash.
Regardless of the situation, insurance companies always try to limit their liability, as do most businesses. Therefore, it is essential to seek legal advice if you are involved in an accident with a company car in Chula Vista. Before signing any documents or providing a statement to any parties, it is best to speak with a lawyer to ensure you understand your rights and how to protect your best interests.
Furthermore, contributory fault could also limit the amount of your recovery for an accident. If you are partially to blame for the cause of the accident, your compensation is reduced by your level of fault. Insurance companies often try to shift blame to the accident victim to avoid paying a claim.
Contact the San Diego Car Accident Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108
We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.