Share This Post
Company Vehicle Accidents In Scottsdale and What You Should Do If You Were in One
Scottsdale roads are flooded with tractor trailers, company vans, fleet vehicles, shuttles, and other big trucks. While these company vehicles are necessary to keep business running in the Grand Canyon State, they also pose a massive danger not just to the driver but also to all others who share the road, even pedestrians. It should not come as a surprise to you that an accident involving a company vehicle can result in more drastic injuries, damages and losses as compared with an accident involving a small, lightweight car. What might come as a surprise, though, is that if you are injured in a company vehicle accident, the company could potentially be held responsible. That could make a big difference in a personal injury lawsuit. Below is more information about company vehicle accidents, including what you should do if you have been injured in one.
Acting Within The Scope Of Employment
A company who employs a driver will typically be responsible for car accidents caused by its driver. This is true whether or not the driver was driving a company vehicle. As long as the driver was in the course and scope of employment for the company, the company’s commercial insurance policy will cover the company vehicle crash.
Suppose a driver has an accident in a company car. In that case, the driver will most likely be covered by the employer, provided that at the time of the accident, he was acting within the scope of his employment.
To be considered within the scope of employment, the driver’s actions must be authorized by his employer or be so closely related to his or her work that the employer should be held responsible. This could mean that the driver was using the company car to drive to meetings, conduct deliveries, travel to off-site locations, make pick-ups, or perform other duties as dictated by the job or that benefitted the company.
The scope of employment does not typically include driving to and from work. There may be exceptions, such as picking up materials for the job on the way to work or going to a mandatory company function after work. Likewise, picking up a company vehicle before work to be driven to a job site may be considered in the scope of employment. The duties that are considered employment-related often depend on the specific job description and the employment relationship. The usual test to determine if something is in the course and scope of employment is to analyze whether or not the employee was doing an authorized task for the benefit of the company.
Running late to work one morning, a driver speeds in a company vehicle and ends up in a car wreck.
- Since the driver was only on his way to work and had not yet started, the driving would not be considered within the scope of his employment.
On the way to a sales meeting, a salesperson crashes and causes significant injuries.
- This accident would be covered under the employer’s insurance policy because it occurred during work hours and during the course of business.
During a lunch business meeting, an employee has a few drinks to be sociable and ends up getting into a wreck with the company car.
- This accident may have happened in the scope of employment. However, an argument can be made that drinking alcohol is not for the benefit of the company and was not an authorized act. As such, an argument could be made that the conduct was outside the scope of employment and that the employer should not be held responsible. If this was the case, the employee’s own automobile insurance may cover the crash.
A boss tells a worker to run a personal errand for him, and the worker causes an accident with the company car while doing it.
- Because this trip was authorized by the employer/boss, it may fall into the scope of employment. The employer would then be liable for any personal injuries or property damage that resulted.
A worker decides to run a personal errand during work hours, without his employer’s knowledge, and gets into an accident with the company car on the way there.
- Despite having occurred during the hours of employment, this was not authorized by the employer and was not for the benefit of the company. As such, the employer may not be responsible for the injuries caused. However, the auto insurance policy covering the vehicle should still apply.
A truck driver runs a red light and hits a pedestrian while on the job. The employer is liable since the driver was acting within the scope of employment.
- Here the employer will be liable because the employee was acting within the scope of employment.
Is The Company Vehicle Accident Covered?
To be clear, if an accident is caused by someone driving a company vehicle, the automobile insurance covering that vehicle will likely cover the crash even if the person driving was not in the scope of employment. However, to hold an employer responsible for any damages and injuries that exceed the amount of the available automobile insurance, it must be shown that the driver was driving in the course and scope of employment. Just because an accident happened in a company car does not mean that the employer is responsible for all injuries caused.
First of all, the car crash must have been an accident, which is defined as happening by chance and taking place unexpectedly or unintentionally. A car accident occurring during an impromptu road race is not likely to be covered. Not only is road racing not authorized by any employer, but the accident also would not have happened in the actual process of doing the job.
To hold an employer responsible to cover any claim, the accident must arise out of and in the course of employment. Just using the words “while working,” or “at work,” or “on the job” does not automatically mean the accident will be covered by the employer.
Company Vehicle Accident Lawyers In Scottsdale, Arizona
Have you been injured in a company vehicle accident in Scottsdale or anywhere else in Arizona? If so, it is essential that you consult with a skilled personal injury attorney for guidance and direction. At Scottsdale Injury Lawyers, we have vast experience with helping injury victims obtain justice and compensation for their injuries. We will fight on your behalf to get you every penny that you deserve. Reach out to Scottsdale Injury Lawyers by calling (480) 900-7390 or by contacting us online.
About the author: The content on this page was provided by Scottsdale personal injury attorney and civil rights lawyer Tony Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report 2018). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout Arizona and California. He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Arizona Association of Justice, Maricopa County Bar Association, Scottsdale Bar Association, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Consumer Attorneys of California, among other organizations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information on this page is attorney advertising. Reading and relying upon the content on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact our law firm for a free consultation and to discuss your specific case and issues.