Many employers provide their employees with a company car for job-related use. Issues of liability become complicated, however, when the employee is in a car accident while driving the company car.
Depending on the circumstances of the car accident, the driver’s employer may be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages. For instance, if the employer was negligent in its hiring or supervision of the employee who was driving the company car, the employer could be liable. Employers who allow an employee to drive a company car have a duty to exercise reasonable care to ensure that the employee is a safe driver, and the failure to do so could result in liability. Additionally, if an employer fails to have reasonable safety policies and procedures in place – or fails to enforce its safety policies or procedures – it could be liable for negligent supervision. For instance, if an employer encourages its employees to drive after working long hours, the employer could be found liable for negligently creating unsafe driving conditions.
Employers can also be held liable for accidents in the company car under the legal theory of vicarious liability, which holds that the actions of an agent (i.e., employee) are essentially the same as the actions of the principal directing the agent (i.e., employer). For instance, if the employer instructs the employee to drive the car to a client meeting, the employer could be liable for the accident’s injuries and damages. If, on the other hand, the employee drives the company car to a personal dinner or to run errands on the weekend, vicarious liability of the employer will likely not apply since the employee was not acting under the direction of the employer.
If you are injured in a work-related car accident while driving the company car, you may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident, however.
Because car accidents involving a company car involve complex and complicated legal issues, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced auto accident lawyer. The car accident lawyers at Cogan & Power, P.C. focus on helping car accident victims in and around Chicago obtain maximum financial recovery. As a result, we are well-equipped to handle the legal complexities of car accidents involving a company car, including legal issues related to comparative negligence, vicarious liability, negligent hiring, negligent supervision, workers’ compensation, and third-party liability.
Contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago car accident attorneys.