You got in a wreck while driving your company’s vehicle. Now what?
Your boss lets you drive the company car to and from work. This can have many benefits, especially when it comes to saving money. Your boss pays for the gas and wear and tear on the vehicle while you keep your car at home in pristine condition.
What you may not be thinking about, though, is what will happen if you get into a car accident while driving your company’s vehicle. Since the vehicle does not belong to you, what will happen to you? Will you be held liable for any damages?
The answer depends on what you were doing when the accident took place. Where were you going? Were you performing your job duties?
Who is to Blame?
In any type of car accident, the first step is to determine liability. However, this can be complicated when a company car is involved in the crash. In some cases, such as getting rear-ended by another vehicle, the driver of the vehicle doing the rear-ending is almost always at fault. If you did the rear-ending, though, you would likely be at fault. One exception would be if you suffered brake failure and could not stop in time. Because your employer would be responsible for maintaining the vehicle, they would be held liable.
However, your employer is not liable for every situation. There are limits, and these limits often involve scope of employment. If you were performing work duties, such as traveling to meet a client, when the accident took place, then the employer would likely cover the damages. This is because they would be held liable under vicarious liability. This means that employers are liable for their employees’ negligence if they are within the scope of their employment. This means that act must be authorized by the employer or be closely related to an authorized act.
However, if you were on your way to the store to do grocery shopping at the time of the crash, then you were outside the scope of your employment at the time, regardless of whether or not it occurred during working hours. This means you would be liable for the damages under the legal terms of frolic and detour. A detour is a minor departure from the scope of employment, like picking up lunch on the way to the office. A frolic, on the other hand, is a major departure, like taking the company car for a one-hour joyride to no place in particular.
Contact Our Tulsa Car Accident Lawyers Today
Not all car crashes are created equally. Some are more complicated than others, and this can be the case when the accident involves a company vehicle.
Whether you were hit by a company vehicle or crashed it yourself, make sure you understand your legal rights and obligations. The Tulsa personal injury attorneys at Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker can assess your case and ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation by filling out the online form or calling our office at (580) 765-9660.