Surprising Reasons Why an Employer is Liable for an Employee’s Auto Accident

Car accident attorneys in California caution employers that they may have liability for employee auto accidents, not only if they occur when an employee is driving in a company vehicle, but in some cases, while an employee is driving personal vehicles.

Here are some examples from car accident attorneys in California:

Company Parties and Events

A car accident law firm in Newport Beach notes that liability may extend to employers in cases of negligence. An example of such a possibility is the situation of holiday parties or any company event where alcohol is served. If any employee drives home drunk, and was obviously drunk at the company event, the company can be sued for letting this happen, because they have partial negligence. The car accident law firm in Newport Beach also notes that bar and nightclub owners in California are held to the same standard.

Unauthorized Use

A car accident law firm in California warns that a lawsuit against a company is possible, when a company vehicle is involved in an auto accident, no matter what the circumstances. A car accident attorney in Newport Beach agrees. Even when the vehicle is stolen by a former employer, the company may be partially liable for not securing the vehicle properly and not changing the keys when an employee is terminated.

Running Errands for the Job

When an employer specifically asks an employee to use their personal vehicle to perform a task for the company they create a liability. An auto accident attorney in Newport Beach says this even includes simple requests, such as to go out and get pizza for a company lunch. For that period of use, the vehicle is temporary in service for the company. This is even more certain if the person doing the task is still “on the clock” and being paid to run the errand.

Carpool Expenses and Travel to Off-Site Meetings

If a company creates an incentive plan that pays employees to form carpools and ride together, this may create a liability based on the fact of the company’s financial contribution and the assumption that business discussions take place in the car on the way to work. Liability may increase, according to a car accident attorney in Newport Beach, when the car drives to a site other than the company for a business meeting and the driver is routinely reimbursed for auto expenses.

Rental Cars

Companies who rent cars for employees may be liable for any accident when the employee drives the car, even for unauthorized personal reasons. An auto accident attorney in Newport Beach says this is similar to the possibility that parents have liability for the auto accidents of their children.

Proactive Rather than Reactive

California is an “at-fault” state in regards to auto accidents. This means if the auto insurance policy limits do not cover the full damages, there is a strong possibility of a lawsuit. It is important for companies to take proactive measures to mitigate the risk of what happens when an employee has an accident. Consulting with a car accident law firm in California, before there is a problem, is a good idea and have them review company policies and insurance coverage.

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