If you’re in an accident in a company car, legal responsibility and who should pay for damages can get confusing. Factors include who is at fault in the crash, the insurance policy, and the company policy. So you have to be prepared with paperwork and facts in order to ensure that this responsibility can be properly sorted out.
Take action at the scene of the crash. Don’t just exchange phone numbers – you cannot trust the person to ever answer their phone again. In Florida you can contact the Florida Highway Patrol via telephone (*FHP) and an officer will stop by and help you get the official record of the accident, including the damages that happened and help determine who is at fault. You should also record the damages with pictures, including if any personal injuries have occurred. Make sure to collect the identification and insurance information of the other person involved in the accident. If there are witnesses, you should collect their identity and phone numbers as well. They can help you and your company argue your case in a court of law.
Immediately report the crash to your company, and provide all the details. Your company likely has a lot of knowledge of what the insurance policy involves. Depending on the size of the company, they may even have lawyers to help determine the best way to approach the case. They will also be able to tell you the company policy for such a crash – they may ask you to pay some or all of the damages the company has to cover – that the insurance company may not.
Most judges hold the employer responsible for the actions of the employee. But this only applies on the job. So if the car is being driven on company business, the employer and the employer’s insurance will apply. If the car is being driven for personal business, even if the car belongs to the company, the employer may end up being considered responsible. If it’s determined that the employer is responsible, they cannot force the employee to pay damages. However, they may be able to fire the employee if the employee broke some rules that the company put in place.