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Business Owner Liability In Car Accidents

February 28, 2024

Posted in Uncategorized

Business Owner Liability In Car Accidents

In today’s fast-paced business world, company vehicles are a common sight on roads and highways. From delivery trucks to service vans, these vehicles play a crucial role in the day-to-day operations of many businesses. However, when accidents occur involving company vehicles, it’s essential to understand the liability implications and the responsibilities that fall on business owners. 

Duty Of Care To Employees And The Public

One of the primary responsibilities of business owners is to ensure the safety of their employees and the public. When employees are driving company vehicles as part of their job duties, employers have a duty of care to provide safe working conditions and take reasonable steps to prevent accidents. This includes implementing comprehensive safety policies, providing proper training for drivers, and regularly maintaining company vehicles to ensure they are in safe operating condition.

Vicarious Liability For Employee Actions

In many cases, when an employee is involved in a car accident while performing work-related duties, the employer can be held vicariously liable for their actions. This means that even if the employee is at fault for the accident, the employer may still be responsible for compensating the injured parties for damages. A lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer, can attest that vicarious liability is a critical concept in company vehicle accident cases and underscores the importance of businesses taking proactive measures to minimize the risk of accidents.

Negligent Hiring And Supervision

Business owners also have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care in hiring and supervising employees who will be operating company vehicles. This includes conducting background checks, verifying driving records, and ensuring that employees have the necessary qualifications and training to safely operate company vehicles. Failure to exercise due diligence in hiring and supervising employees can expose businesses to liability if an accident occurs due to an employee’s incompetence or negligence.

Scope Of Employment

Determining whether an employee was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of a car accident is essential in assessing liability. Generally, if the employee was engaged in activities that furthered the interests of the employer or were within the scope of their job duties, the employer may be held liable for any resulting damages. However, if the employee was using the company vehicle for personal reasons or deviated significantly from their assigned duties at the time of the accident, the employer’s liability may be limited.

Insurance Coverage And Legal Protections

Many lawyers recommend that businesses should maintain comprehensive commercial auto insurance policies that provide sufficient coverage for property damage, bodily injury, and other liabilities arising from accidents involving company vehicles. Additionally, business owners should consider incorporating their business to shield personal assets from potential lawsuits related to company vehicle accidents.

Help After An Accident

Company vehicle accidents can have serious repercussions for business owners, including legal liabilities and financial losses. By understanding their responsibilities and taking proactive measures to promote safety and mitigate risks, business owners can minimize their exposure to liability and protect their interests. Our friends at Cohen & Cohen know the challenges related to company vehicle accidents. If you are a business owner wondering about better coverage or if you were recently injured in an accident involving a company car, schedule a consultation with a local lawyer for help.