Being furnished with a company car is often among the benefits listed in a typical job description. Jobs from a wide range of industries may require employees to travel, including salespeople, cab drivers, tour guides, home health care workers and delivery drivers. Anyone who uses a vehicle for work is subject to the same challenges faced by all drivers – and accidents happen.
There are many factors that have to be considered in determining responsibility to employees and for employees who are involved in a wreck while driving a company-owned vehicle. The general rule in Georgia is that employers are liable for mistakes made by employees under a legal theory known as “respondeat superior.” Employers can be held vicariously liable for injuries or deaths caused by an employee’s negligent acts committed within the course of employment. If the employee was acting within the scope of his or her job description when the accident took place, then an employer cannot force the employee to pay for the damages.
While, generally, accidents that take place while employees are driving to work from home and returning back home after work are not within the course and scope of employment, there have been many cases of respondeat superior being successfully applied where the employee was required to drive a company-owned vehicle to and from work for the benefit of the employer. There are also other theories under which employers may be held liable, including negligent hiring, negligent supervision, or failure to maintain the vehicle in a safe condition.
An employee may be able to recover damages for injuries suffered in a company car accident if the damage can be considered a workplace injury. A workplace injury is one that occurs during the course of the normal workday, so an injury that happens while on the job or along the way to a work-related function may be covered by the employer’s insurer. Employees who have been injured while working should document as efficiently and specifically as possible the risks, circumstances and results of the injury. Be sure to tell your supervisor and fill out all required paperwork. These written details can be invaluable to your case.
Consulting with a lawyer is recommended whenever an accident potentially involves employer liability. If you are trying to put your life back together after a motor vehicle accident that happened while you were on the job, or, if you have more questions about this topic, trust your case to the Macon, GA-based Mann Law Firm. We serve all of Middle Georgia, including Dublin, Warner Robins and Milledgeville. Contact us for a thorough case evaluation by calling (478) 742-3381 or by filling out our online form.