Responding to car accidents can be a complex and stressful process. You may have suffered damages to your vehicle, body, and the deaths of loved ones. Company vehicle accidents may be even more complex. You may require compensation for the accident yet wonder who is legally responsible. In some cases, you may be able to sue the employer and driver if you were involved in a company car accident. The skilled attorneys at Hyde Tebay Legal understand how to respond to company vehicle accidents and may be able to advocate for you in a company vehicle lawsuit. Call Hyde Tebay Legal at (484) 886-4271 or reach out online to request a free consultation and learn more about company vehicle lawsuits.
May You Sue An Employer For A Company Vehicle Accident?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to sue an employer for a company vehicle crash. If a company vehicle struck yours, you might be able to sue the driver’s employer under a theory of vicarious liability. However, to sue the employer, you must establish that the driver acted within the scope of their employment when they collided with you. If so, the employer may be vicariously liable for the actions of the driver employee.
What Is Vicarious Liability?
When employing a person, an employer takes on certain liability for the employee’s actions. The legal doctrine of vicarious liability provides that an employer may be responsible for the wrongful actions of an employee under certain circumstances. For the employer to be liable for the employee’s actions, the employee must have committed a wrongful action during the scope of employment. Three components generally determine whether a wrongful action occurred during the scope of employment.
First, the employer must have hired the employee to do that particular work. For example, in the case of a company car accident, the employer must have hired the employee to drive the vehicle.
Second, the wrongful act must have occurred during the time and location of the employment. Suppose a company hires an employee to deliver goods in a company car between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM in the state of Pennsylvania. Suppose the driver causes an accident at 10:00 AM. In that case, the accident occurred during the time and location of the employment. Yet, if the accident happened during 5:35 PM, the employer is most likely not liable unless you can prove the employee was working overtime.
Third, the purpose of the action must be to fulfill the employment obligations. Suppose an employee takes a company car out at night, outside the hours of employment, and drives the car to a friend’s house in another state where the employer has not authorized the employee to work. During the drive, the employee causes an accident, injuring another driver. In that case, the injured driver may have difficulty suing the employer because the accident took place outside of the scope of the employee’s occupation.
If a case goes to trial, the jury or factfinder examines the evidence to determine whether the wrongful activity occurred within the scope of employment. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you present your case and convince the jury that the accident occurred during the scope of the driver’s employment. Employers have more money than their employees, so you’re likely to receive your compensation sooner and in full if you go after them.
How May You Prove Negligence In Company Vehicle Accident Lawsuit?
If a company vehicle driver caused your accident, more than likely, you could sue the employer. You may assert that the driver was negligent, and the employer is responsible under the doctrine of vicarious liability. An attorney may help you collect evidence to build your case. Generally, your attorney must prove four elements to establish negligence.
First, you must show that the company car driver owed you a duty of reasonable care. Generally, drivers have a duty to drive as a reasonable person would. Second, you must show that the company car driver broke their duty of care to you. If the driver made a mistake while driving, was distracted, or failed to follow traffic rules, the driver breached their duty of care to you. Third, you must demonstrate that the accident harmed you. If you suffered injuries from the accident, such as a back injury, seeing a doctor demonstrates that you suffered actual harm. Finally, you must point to a causal link between the company driver’s actions and your injury. In other words, you must establish that the company driver is at fault for your injury.
If the company car driver clearly broke the law, you might have a strong case. If you can show that the driver violated the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, the court will likely assume that the driver breached the driver’s duty of care to you. However, you still need to show that the driver caused the accident.
How Long Do You Have To Bring A Company Car Vehicle Accident Lawsuit?
Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury, negligence, and wrongful death cases. This means you have two years after the accident to bring a company vehicle car accident lawsuit. Therefore, you should act quickly if you want to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. If you fail to file a claim after this period, state law bars you from bringing a claim later.
May You Sue An Employer For Hiring Or Continuing To Employ An Irresponsible Driver?
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to sue the driver’s employer who caused your accident for hiring or retaining the driver negligently. Indeed, employers have a duty to exercise reasonable care when hiring drivers. Suppose the driver that caused your accident had a record of irresponsible driving behavior, such as driving under the influence, and the employer hired the driver anyway. In that case, you may be able to hold the employer liable for your accident. Moreover, you may also be able to hold the employer responsible for your accident if they neglected to fire the driver after instances of previous unsafe driving.
May You Sue An Employer For Problems With The Company Vehicle?
If problems with the company vehicle led to your car accident, you might be able to sue the manufacturing company for product liability issues. This applies to trucking companies especially. Manufacturing companies have a duty to ensure safe design, safe production, attention-grabbing warning labels, and safe maintenance. Employers of trucking companies must also maintain their trucks, tires, and brakes. Failure to do so could give rise to accident liability on the part of a trucking company.
May Company Drivers Recover Damages Company Vehicle Accidents?
Pennsylvania law requires most employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. If you were behind the wheel of a company vehicle during an accident, you might be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries. Even if you contributed to the accident, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits because workers’ compensation insurance is not fault-based.
Pennsylvania Company Vehicle Accident Lawyer
The skilled company vehicle accident attorneys at Hyde Tebay Legal are experienced in bringing insurance claims and lawsuits on behalf of injury victims. Call Hyde Tebay Legal at (484) 886-4271 or contact us online for a free consultation.