What Happens When You Are Involved in a Car Accident with a Company Vehicle?
Car crashes are complicated by nature.
From dealing with insurance to determining fault to coping with injuries, there is really never anything good about being in a car accident.
When a company vehicle is involved, it makes things even more complicated than usual.
You may be wondering what happens when you are involved in a car accident with a company vehicle. This depends on the circumstances of your specific accident.
The experienced team of personal injury attorneys at Peace Law Firm understands how complex cases involving a car accident in a company vehicle can be.
We will thoroughly investigate the cause of your accident to determine liability and the best strategy for your case.
The involvement of a company vehicle in the accident generally means there will be multiple parties involved.
We’re here to help you navigate the legal process and understand your rights.
Am I Liable If I Get into a Car Accident with a Company Vehicle?
It is crucial to understand who was responsible for the accident. This will determine who gets compensation from whom and how to proceed with insurance negotiations and potential litigation.
South Carolina is an at-fault state, which means the person “at-fault” is responsible for damages caused, and their insurance company will be the one paying.
For someone to be deemed liable for the accident, it must be determined that they acted negligently.
Several factors go into proving negligence:
- The person or party at fault owed the victim a duty of care. As it pertains to vehicle accidents, the duty generally owed is to drive responsibly and adhere to all traffic laws;
- The party at fault breached its duty. Speeding, distracted driving, and other irresponsible driving behavior may constitute a breach of duty; and
- The breach resulted in injury to the victim.
A personal injury attorney will be able to help you show how the negligent conduct of the at-fault driver resulted in the accident.
Car Accident with a Company Vehicle
If the other diver is at fault, their insurance company will pay for the damages.
If you are at fault and your employer owns the vehicle you are driving, the company will likely have insurance on that vehicle, and their insurance company will pay, provided you were acting within the scope of employment.
But if you were using the vehicle for personal reasons, you will likely be fully liable.
It is important to differentiate whether you were acting within the scope of employment when the accident occurred to determine if your employer is vicariously liable.
What Is Vicarious Liability?
Vicarious liability is a legal theory that may allow an injury victim to hold an employer liable for an injury if the individual who caused the injury was an employee acting within the scope of their employment.
If it can be reasonably assumed that the employee’s main motive in acting was to further their employer’s interests, then they were acting in the scope of employment at that time.
Motive Test for Vicarious Liability
The primary method that South Carolina courts usually employ when determining whether an employee acted on their employer’s behalf is the “motive” or “purpose” test.
If a reasonable person could deduce that the main motive of the employee was to further their employer’s interests at the time of the accident, then they were acting within the scope of employment.
For example, if a food delivery driver causes an accident while on his way to deliver food, the employer would be vicariously liable.
If the driver was visiting friends on the way home from work and was involved in an accident, it would probably be viewed as a personal errand outside the scope of employment.
Circumstances that mix business with personal errands can become more complicated to decipher.
An experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney can help you determine liability.
Modified Comparative Fault
In the situation where both parties contributed to the accident, the rule of modified comparative fault applies. This means that the person claiming damages can do so even if they were partially at fault.
The percentage by which they are deemed at fault is subtracted from their final settlement or award.
This is another reason that it is important to hire a skilled attorney who can help you accurately determine who was responsible for the accident.
Contact the Peace Law Firm
If you are involved in a car accident with a company vehicle, contact the Peace Law Firm to determine your rights and responsibilities.
We represent clients like you—not insurance companies—and we understand the intricacies of South Carolina personal injury law.
Vehicle accidents are traumatic enough without the stress of legal complications.
We’re here to help. Call us or reach out online to schedule a free case consultation.