If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by someone driving a company vehicle, you may be uncertain how to begin the process of seeking financial compensation for your medical expenses, vehicle repair bills, and other damages. In 2020, 1,038 people were killed in work-related car accidents in the United States, accounting for about 22% of all job-related fatalities that year. Accidents involving company cars are often multifaceted and more than one party is often liable. An experienced Virginia Beach car accident attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can provide you with reliable legal counsel and ensure you pursue the best course of action for recovering full compensation.
Who is Liable in a Car Accident Involving a Company Vehicle?
When you are involved in an accident through no fault of your own, you are entitled to pursue damages from the at-fault party. However, determining fault in a crash that was caused by someone who was driving their employer’s vehicle is not always a straightforward process.
A Virginia Beach car accident attorney will have the knowledge and resources to fully investigate the incident and establish liability. Depending on the circumstances, liability could fall to:
Determining exactly what the driver was doing when the crash occurred is crucial to proving liability. If the driver was not performing a task related to their job, they could be held liable for the accident. For instance, if a delivery driver is using a company vehicle to visit a friend in between their deliveries, you would likely seek compensation from the delivery driver’s auto insurance company.
If the driver was on the clock and engaged in a task related to their job at the time of the crash, their employer would probably be held responsible. The company could also be found liable if the driver was making an unscheduled stop such as putting gas in the car when the collision occurred. While getting gas is not a specified duty, it is related to the company since the driver would otherwise not be able to make their deliveries.
Lastly, the employer could be liable if the company failed to properly maintain their vehicle. For example, if the crash was due to a bald tire that shredded or worn-out brake pads that the company should have noticed and addressed, it could be held accountable for the collision.
Types of Employer Liability
When an employee causes a car accident while operating a company vehicle for work purposes, their employer could be held responsible for:
- Negligent supervision: When a worker is given use of a company vehicle or required to transport people or goods as part of their employment, safety guidelines must be enacted. Companies should have policies that dictate appropriate driving and perform safety reviews of their drivers. Hiring an employee who has a valid driver’s license is not enough.
- Negligent hiring: Employers also have a duty to hire people who are qualified to perform their jobs and will not present a threat to others on the roadway. If a company fails to perform a background check or knowingly hires a driver who is unable to meet these requirements, it may be considered negligent.
- Vicarious liability: Even when a company does not act negligently, it may still be held accountable for the actions of an employee behind the wheel through vicarious liability.
An Experienced Virginia Injury Attorney Can Help
If you were involved in a traffic accident with a driver in a company vehicle performing tasks within the scope of their employment, an experienced Virginia Beach car accident attorney can determine whether or not you have a valid claim against the driver’s employer. We know how serious the impacts of a car accident can be for a victim and how vital fair financial compensation is to their recovery, like the $1 million settlement we secured for a client who was left disabled after another driver failed to yield the right-of-way. If you were injured in a car accident, contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Virginia Beach car accident attorneys and find out how we can help you. You can call (833) 997-1774 or fill out our online form. Our offices are located in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Chesapeake, and Portsmouth.