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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Company car accidents: Is your employer liable?

By LHD Lawyers

If you drive a company car, or drive a car during the course of your job and end up in a company car accident where you are injured, you may wonder who is liable for your injuries, pain and suffering.

Whether or not your employer is liable for any injuries you may have sustained depends on a few factors, including;

  • Who was at fault when the accident occurred.
  • The nature of your contract with your employer.
  • The reason you were driving the vehicle in the first place.

If an employee is seriously injured in a car accident while driving for work or while driving a company car, who is responsible?

Car accidents can result in a range of life-changing injuries, from minor complications like whiplash to extensive injuries like head, back and spinal injuries and even psychological injuries like PTSD.

Many employees drive a car in the course of their work or have a company vehicle as a perk of their job, so who is responsible for car accidents and injuries sustained in work vehicles or on work time?

If you’re in a company car accident during work time, the vehicle may be considered part of your workplace. This can mean you’re entitled to workers compensation in the same way you would be if you were injured in the office or work site.

When injuries are sustained in a company car accident, you may also be able to claim from a third party if an external party caused the car accident, as well as workers compensation. Your employer cannot dismiss you simply because you had a car accident on work time; if this happens, you may also be entitled to compensation for unfair dismissal.

It’s important to seek legal advice if you sustain injuries in an accident while driving for work or in a company car to ensure you receive any compensation you are entitled to.

What happens if the accident was while driving the company car for personal use?

If you sustain injuries while driving a company car for personal use, you have the same rights as you would with any car accident and have the same entitlement to compensation claims for your injuries.

It’s important to grasp the policies and procedures provided to you by your employer to fully understand if you’re covered in the event of an accident and what that coverage includes.

Employee’s duties while driving a company car

Employees have specific duties when driving a company car. These include:

  • Thoroughly reading your company’s policies and procedures about driving the car and understanding what’s expected of you should the car break down or you have a company car accident.
  • Understanding what’s covered by the car’s auto insurance and when this applies in the case of a company car accident.
  • Employees must follow all road rules, not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol or in a reckless or negligent manner.
  • Employees should report any issues with the company car that may result in a breakdown or accident to their employer as soon as they are aware of them.
  • Employees should keep all logbooks up to date.

Employer’s duty for company car

When providing you with a company car, employers should provide you with:

  • A clearly outlined policy on the use of the vehicle both within work hours for work use and out of work hours, if it’s a vehicle you take home with you. This should include what happens in the event of a company car accident, breakdown or any unforeseen circumstances.
  • Your employer should also provide you with details of the vehicle’s auto insurance.
  • Your employer is also responsible for ensuring the car is safe to drive and doesn’t have any issues which may increase the likelihood of an accident.
  • Employers should also keep a register of who drives their vehicles and copies of their driver’s license.

Who pays if you’re in a company car accident? Is an employer liable for an employee’s car accident?

If you are in an accident while driving for work, or driving a company car, in most cases, your employer will be liable for any damage or injuries you may have sustained. Things that will void this responsibility include:

  • You have not abided by all road rules (e.g. you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or driving recklessly or negligently).
  • You were not abiding by the contract you have entered into with your employer about vehicle use.

There are some circumstances where your employer can also be responsible for damage you have caused in a company car accident. This is known as ‘vicarious liability’.

Make a Motor Vehicle Accident claim today

LHD Lawyers help everyday Australians receive the benefits they are entitled to for motor vehicle accident claims. We are so sure of our abilities to win your case that we stand firmly by our No Win No Fee Policy. Call 1800 455 725 to arrange a consultation.

 

Author: Jasmina Mackovic

Original Publish Date: December 22, 2021

Last Updated: March 26, 2024

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