Who is liable in accidents involving corporate vehicles?

When a car accident occurs, there are several aspects of the situation that should be addressed immediately. You need to get medical care to ensure that injuries are treated properly, and you also need to address damage to your vehicle so that you do not find yourself without transportation. These issues are superseded by the question of who will be paying for such expenses—in other words, who is liable?

This question is complicated further when the accident involves a vehicle that is corporately owned. Is the company liable, or is the individual driver? How do you go about collecting from either? There are a few things you should know, and you should also consult with a legal representative for further advice.

Understand who is at fault

You should first determine whether you or the other driver is at fault for the accident. This, of course, will be a deciding factor in whether your insurance or theirs will be liable. Determining who is at fault in the accident is ultimately up to law enforcement after they arrive on the scene and hear from all drivers involved. It is important to take pictures and maintain documentation, though, to help your case.

Determine if travel was work-related

If the driver of the corporate vehicle is at fault, it can still be complicated to determine whether her or his employer is legally liable for the damages. Some employers extend corporate insurance to their drivers, for example, while others require that drivers maintain their own policy. You should find out what coverage the other driver has and whether she or he was on the clock at the time of the accident.

Refer to the insurance policy

Ultimately, you should obtain the details of the other driver's insurance and then make your claim accordingly. Insurance companies are not always dedicated to drivers' best interests, though, so it is a good idea to consult with an attorney to better understand what you need to do to establish your case and ensure that you are not left financially responsible for the actions of another driver.

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O'Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC
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