What Should I Do if an Employee Wrecks a Company Vehicle?
Car accidents involving company vehicles are bound to happen, especially if your employees do a lot of travel for business purposes. If an employee is involved in an accident while using a company car, don’t panic. There are usually coverages in place to help cover the costs of the damage.
The first step in handling the aftermath of the accident is to understand the vehicle’s policy. The policy will ultimately outline what coverage the vehicle has, and the conditions in which the insurance will cover the cost of the damage and any exclusions that would prevent insurance from covering the damage. Most company vehicles are covered under the condition that the vehicle is being used for business purposes, so it is important to note why the vehicle was in use at the time. Problems can arise if someone other than the employee uses a company vehicle, as well.
Liability can greatly determine how much your insurance will pay towards the damage to the vehicle, as opposed to the other party’s insurance. In many states, liability can be shared, so the other party’s insurance may end up covering a portion of the vehicle’s damages. Understanding liability can also help protect your employees as if your insurance covers the damages and injuries sustained to the other party, your employee isn’t personally responsible. This can help stop people who try to “double-dip” by pursuing both your company as well as the employee personally for damages in hopes of doubling down on a potential payout.
No matter who the at-fault party may seem to be after an accident, you should always get a police report. It’s advised that the first step should be to call the police. The authorities will be able to give an objective report as well as recording both sides of the story as to what happened in the accident, along with what they find to be contributing factors by each party. This police report can help if there are conflicting statements by the drivers, or if the other driver suddenly changes their story after speaking with their insurance.
Worker’s Comp Versus Liability Insurance
When there are injuries involved, there are two coverages that will generally go into effect. If your worker is injured, their injuries will be covered under the worker’s comp coverage for injuries sustained on the job. The liability insurance is to cover any injuries sustained by the third party that you may be liable for if your employee was responsible for the accident. If there are injuries involved, it may be wise to hire an injury attorney to help with the process and protect your interests.
Accidents with company vehicles can be confusing, especially if you aren’t sure exactly how your coverage works. It is important to speak with your insurance company as soon as you can in order to work out how much of the accident is covered. Get a claims representative assigned to work the claim for you and make sure any injuries are brought to their attention so that they can get all of the information they need early on. This prevents people from changing their stories later. It also helps get the claim resolved quickly, meaning less time you have to deal with the aftermath of the accident.
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