Companies often provide transportation facilities for their employees who have to travel far distances to work. This not only makes it simpler for the employee to commute but also acts as a tax write-off, proving advantageous for the employer. Like any other car traversing the congested streets of New York, a company car may also be involved in an accident and if this happens, determining liability can get quite complicated. It is important to understand the legal aspects of company car accidents in New York.
When is an Employer Held Responsible for an Accident in New York?
Under New York’s clause of “vicarious liability”, an employer is legally liable anytime their employee is involved in a collision that occurs while traveling in a company car. If the employee causes an accident that leads to an injury to another individual, the employer is held responsible if the accident occurred at a time when the employee was performing some task related to their job.
For example, an employer cannot be held accountable for an accident that occurs when the employee was driving their child to music class but will be held responsible for an accident that occurs when the employee is driving to a client meeting. Vicarious liability will apply only when the company car accident and injury occurred during the course of employment.
However, there are exceptions to the vicarious liability clause. In certain unique situations, the employer is not considered liable even if the employee is acting within the scope of their employment. Generally, when the employee gets involved in some kind of a crime, the company may be able to avoid vicarious liability in New York.
When is a Driver Considered at Fault for an NYC Car Accident?
When a car accident is a result of a driving error, the person driving the car is considered at fault for the accident. Road crashes that occur due to speeding, tailgating, distracted driving, failing to yield way, not using the right turn signals, executing illegal lane changes, and driving when fatigued are all examples of situations that are considered the driver’s fault.
If an employee has indulged in reckless driving or violated the company’s rules while making use of the car, the employee alone is considered responsible for any accident that may result. Such employees may be terminated by the company and there can be no question of the victim of the accident seeking compensation from the at-fault driver’s employer.
If an employee uses the company car to run a personal errand and strikes someone, the victim cannot sue the company but will definitely sue the person who struck them. Having insurance to cover the company car helps in such instances. If you do not have such cover, it is highly likely that you will have to face a personal lawsuit.
If your accident was caused due to a technical fault with the car that the company provided you, you could raise a claim against your employer. However, to be able to do so, you will have to prove that the car was defective and that the accident was entirely a result of its malfunction. Speak to a knowledgeable company car accident lawyer in New York City for the best legal advice.
What is the Pure Comparative Fault in New York?
Under New York law, if there are two parties at fault for an accident, both can sue the other party. How much compensation each party receives will depend on the degree of their contribution to the crash. If a driver was speeding through an intersection and collided with another driver who was texting while driving, both drivers are at fault for the accident.
In these cases, if one of the drivers was using a company car, the employer can be held vicariously liable if the employee is found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
What if You are Injured When Traveling in a Company Car?
While negotiating the heavy traffic of New York, it is quite possible that you may be the victim of an accident when driving your company car. If this happens, you can certainly claim compensation for the cost of your medical expenses, the pain and suffering you sustained, and the wages you lose for having to take time off from work to recover your health. If you are involved in such an accident, make sure you collect details of the party at fault and promptly report the crash.
In most cases, the offending driver will have insurance and you can recover damages from their insurer. However, in the rare event of the other driver not being covered by insurance, you will have to look elsewhere for compensation. Many employers provide no-fault benefits to replace a part of the wages you lose and provide for your medical expenses.
Workers’ Compensation in Relation to Car Accidents in New York
If an employee is injured in a car accident that takes place on work time, they may qualify to receive workers’ compensation. Whether the accident involved a personal car or a company car, the employer is liable if you were on the job when the crash occurred. Some examples of such situations include:
What Happens After a Company Car Accident in New York?
If you have been injured in an accident while traveling in the company car, make sure you immediately seek medical assistance to deal with your injuries. If your injuries are relatively minor and do not need immediate medical attention, make sure you pull your vehicle over to a safe spot and then collect photo or video evidence of the crash site and the condition of the cars involved in the crash.
Get the name, address, license details, and insurance information of the other party or parties involved in the company car accident. At the first opportunity, inform your employer regarding the specifics of the accident. Company representatives will probably rush to the crash site to gather evidence that can be put together to reconstruct the events that led to the collision.
Insurance companies and lawyers of both parties will get to work soon after to determine liability for the accident. This is the time when there will be an examination of the facts to determine if the concept of vicarious liability is applicable to the accident.
If the accident victim accepts the offer for compensation made by the insurer of the party at fault, the case gets settled relatively faster. However, if this does not happen, the case then moves to a court trial with the jury or the judge taking the call on who is at fault and on whether the situation qualifies as vicarious liability.
Seek Legal Help if You Were Involved in a Company Car Accident in NYC
If you have been involved in an accident while driving a company car, on company business, it is quite likely that your employer will be responsible to handle the consequences. If you have been the victim of an accident caused by a company car, you can sue the person driving the car or their company depending on the circumstances and nature of the crash.
Whatever be the specifics of such accidents, they can be legally far more complex than a simple car accident personal injury case. Therefore, it is vital that you seek legal help at the earliest to make sure you are not wrongly implicated or deprived of the benefits you deserve.
Dealing with large insurance companies and private corporations can be a challenge for an average individual. Therefore, it is best to get legal representation from a personal injury lawyer who specializes in company car accidents in New York.
Experienced Company Car Accident Lawyers in New York
If you have been in an accident while driving your company car or if you have been injured in an accident caused by a company car, there may be several difficult questions to answer. Who was at fault for the accident – the company or the employee driving the company car?
Who must pay compensation to the accident victim – the person driving the car or the company who owns the car? Is it wise to accept the settlement proposed by the insurance provider of the party at fault or should you take your case to a court trial?
A competent car accident attorney can help you make sense of even the most confusing of situations so that you do not end up paying damages when it is the company that must do so. If you have been injured by a company car, a tenacious car accident lawyer can help you easily get the compensation you deserve.
Our personal injury lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP have several years of experience working with accidents involving a company car. We have helped several hundreds of clients get the compensation they deserve for the injuries they have suffered. To know more about how we can help you, call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 212-344-1000 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.
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