Most people know there is no more profound source of liability than a car accident. It is easy to understand why. The extent to which people prefer to avoid car accident liability can be measured in the amounts spent on extra insurance. When an accident takes place at work, however, especially in a car owned by an employer, liability becomes exponentially more complex.
Simply put, it is not possible for the average person, regardless of their sophistication or experience, to navigate the legal issues involved after a car accident involving a company-owned vehicle. It goes without saying drivers should have an attorney after any accident, but even the benefit of the doubt goes away in a situation like this. Here are some reasons why.
If a driver is in a vehicle vs. vehicle accident while driving someone else’s car, there are automatically two potential plaintiffs in any future legal dispute. The first is the car owner. The second is the other party to the accident. The case might even spawn a third potential cause of action between the two plaintiffs as well. All of these cases are interlocked because they share the same fact pattern.
If you are confused about what to do after the accident, this should be an indicator why you need a trained legal professional like those at Ahlander Injury Law, a group of car accident lawyers in Las Vegas to unravel it. Especially if your future insurance premiums, financial security and driver’s license are on the line.
If you are an employee of a company and driving a company-owned vehicle on company time, your liability for any accident may be offset by the fact your employer either shares or exclusively holds responsibility for the incident. As an employee, you may be shielded from liability and you may be entitled to various benefits to cover your injuries under either workers’ compensation insurance, a general liability policy maintained by your employer or any health insurance carried by your employer on your behalf.
That’s potentially three insurance companies and at least one government agency you’ll need to have extended conversations with. If you think juggling two plaintiffs is complicated, you’re not ready to negotiate with big insurers. Your attorney, on the other hand, is required to know everything there is to know about your state’s insurance code.
It is possible you could be driving a company car while not “on the clock” at your job. If you find yourself in an accident on your own time, you may find your personal privacy at stake. For example, drivers in a wreck requiring the advice of a lawyer could inspire all kinds of questions from an employer. They may want to know where you were and what you were doing at the time of the accident. Some of this information is relevant, most of it isn’t.
Your attorney will know the difference, and may be in a much better position to exclude details that have little to nothing to do with the facts of the accident while at the same time preserving your professional relationship with your employer and your co-workers.
Most people are well aware a car accident can present a driver with potential civil liability. It can also create potential criminal issues as well. Even if you think you can navigate the world of insurance and employment, you are practically guaranteed to fail the test of trying to simultaneously wrestle with a criminal matter. It is for this reason alone you need to retain counsel as quickly as possible after any accident, especially one involving a company car.
Don’t be one of those drivers who learns too late how valuable the advice of a qualified attorney can be. When in doubt, ask for a lawyer, or retain one at your earliest opportunity. It’s much better to have too much advice than not enough.
About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her husky Snowball. You can find her on Twitter at @LizzieWeakley and on Facebook at facebook.com/lizzie.weakley.