If the car was owned by a company, is the company responsible for paying my personal injuries?
- October 5, 2017
Car accidents take many different forms. Often, two people using their vehicles for personal use find themselves involved in a collision. “Often” doesn’t mean “always.” At times, a party involved in an accident could be a commercially-operated vehicle owned by a company. A delivery truck owned by a supermarket would be an example of a company-owned vehicle. People injured by vehicles owned by a company are going to seek damages. Questions arise regarding whether the company that owns the vehicle can be held liable for injuries and other losses caused due to negligence.
Where the Liability Lies
In general, a business can be held liable for damages caused by an employee’s negligence. This may be true when the company owns the car or when the employee owns his/her car and conducts official business for the employer. So, a pizza chain that supplies a car to delivery drives and a pizza chain that requires its drivers to use their own car could both be found liable for the employee’s actions.
The employee, for that matter, may also be held liable and sued. Truthfully, any party that contributed to the negligence could potentially be named as a defendant in a suit. The key point here is the party must be negligent in some way. Negligence means someone did something wrong leading to an accident. Their actions caused an injury. They also may have been required to perform a duty to act to prevent an injury. Either way, they were negligent in their duties and might be responsible for losses.
Personal injury suits are rooted in the negligent acts of another party. Drivers who speed or conduct reckless driving likely would be found negligent. A company that knowingly puts a defective vehicle on the road could also be held negligent.
The Role of Insurance
Liability insurance is designed to pay for the negligent acts of others. A driver carrying auto liability insurance is paying for the insurance provider to pay a settlement on a loss. Unfortunately, not all drivers carry the appropriate insurance policy. If the driver is conducting business, he/she must purchase commercial auto insurance. Personal auto insurance won’t cover any claims for business use of a car. Without the option for an insurance settlement, the injured party would need to personally sue the driver to recover damages.
The company that owns the vehicle likely carries a very large general liability policy, which protects against negligence. General liability insurance may not come into play with an auto accident. A business probably took out other policies to protect them in case of a suit. Non-owned automobile insurance covers businesses when a driver uses his/her own car. A commercial insurance coverage/company car insurance would be necessary for a vehicle owned in the name of a business.
All these different insurance coverage issues might seem overwhelming to someone who has suffered after an accident. Hiring the right attorney to address dealing with an insurance company could make navigating the situation easier. The attorney could always file suit against the business as well and seek a judgment at trial. Whether the insurance company or the business owner pays the judgment likely won’t be of concern to the plaintiff. He/she simply wants a favorable outcome to the situation.
The Complexities of a Case
Car accidents are not always clear in terms of who is at fault and to what degree. Even the injured party might be at fault to some degree. These factors do weigh into how the litigation proceeds. An attorney will perform the necessary evaluation and investigation into the case. The attorney determines if the case has merit and how to proceed with litigation. Attorneys do make recommendations about settlements vs. going all the way to trial. Careful consultations with an attorney can led to figuring out what would be the best way to go forward.
Hiring the Right Attorney
An attorney with car accident cases and handling personal injury litigation against commercial enterprises possesses a significant amount of experience. The experience could be very relevant to someone hurt when a company-owned car crashes into them. Seek out an attorney suited for the case. The right attorney has the necessary experience to address this type of litigation.