Accidents When Traveling on Business: Protection Basics

You’re traveling for business, your eyes veer from the road for just a moment, and all of a sudden “bam.” You’ve crashed into the vehicle ahead of you, and your vehicle is damaged. The person driving the other vehicle may also be injured.

Car accident

A million questions are running through your mind:

  • Will your business’s insurance cover the damage?
  • Will your insurance cover the damages?

The first and most important thing a person can do is call the police to have a sworn statement made, so the insurance company has a detailed statement of the events leading to the accident. If possible, you should also take photos of the accident scene as well as the damage your vehicle sustained.

Employee Information on Handling an Accident

There are a lot of work-related accidents that can occur and a variety of circumstances which may lead to different ways to file a claim. A few considerations are:

  • Does your job require you to use company transportation? If yes, you’re going to file a claim with a commercial policy.
  • How is the vehicle registered? The DMV requires some vehicles to be classified as commercial.

You’ll want to follow the procedures that are recommended to you by your Human Resources department. Your boss should be alerted to the accident. He or she will be able to help you file a claim and will know the best procedure to follow.

You should give the police report to your supervisor or the person who will handle the claim.

Rental cars that are taken out in your name for business may lead to you being liable for the damages that occurred. You’ll need to read through the rental agreement to determine if you’re liable for damages, or if your company is liable for the damages.

Business Preparation for an Accident

Businesses can take measures to protect their business from accidents. There will always be the risk and responsibility of liability, but the right steps protect your business from further legal matters.

A few of the protections you can have in place to protect your business from auto accidents include:

  • Speak to an insurance agent. Your insurance agent will be able to help you choose which vehicles need to be registered as commercial vehicles in your state.
  • Business Owner Policy. A business owner policy (BOP) is ideal for owners because it allows you to combine liability and all major property insurance into one package. This is a great option for small- and medium-sized business.

You can also take out Hired and Non-Owned Auto coverage. This coverage will cover your business’s liability in the event that you crash a rental car. Injuries to employees and property damage are not included in this coverage, so make sure you have the appropriate insurance in place even when opting for hired and non-owned auto coverage.

If an employee is injured when on the job in a car accident, it can leave your business liable for any damages that are not covered in a traditional accident.

Damage amounts for some injuries can be $2 million for traumatic brain injury, $1 million for lower back injuries, $675,000 for abdominal and facial injuries.

Business owners will also want to determine if the accident occurred within the “scope of employment.” This is a difficult determination, but it will help determine if the employee was negligent and acting outside of the scope of their business.

If the employee was not acting within the scope of employment, your business may not be held liable for the damages.

Intentional acts by the driver are not the responsibility of the company. This can include an employee who drove a vehicle into a crowd on purpose. A lawyer will help you keep your liability risks to a minimum and determine the steps to take to lower future risks.

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