Does your organization provide company vehicles to team members for operational, travel, or personal use? While company-issued cars benefit businesses and employees, it’s not without risks. Take car accidents, for instance. As collisions happen every few seconds, there’s a possibility that a worker could be involved. When this occurs, employers must know how to respond to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.
While you’ve hopefully done everything you can to reduce the likelihood of work-related car accidents, there’s only so much you can control. Most people know what to do if they’re involved in a car accident in personal vehicles. However, the process is more complicated when dealing with a company vehicle. Continue reading to learn more.
Record Pertinent Details
The first step is to record pertinent information when your team member contacts you. Find out where the accident occurred, the severity of the collision, identifiable injuries and damage, the contact details for the local authorities, and the overall outcome of the accident. Ask your worker to be as specific as possible, as you’ll need this information to file an insurance claim.
Assess Your Liability
After you’ve collected the necessary details, the next step is to assess your liability. Who is responsible for covering the costs of the crash? Was the driver on or off the clock when the accident happened? Do they admit to wrongdoing or profess their innocence? More importantly, what does your company car policy say about collision liabilities?
Contact An Accident Attorney
Before filing an insurance claim, it’s always best to consult an accident attorney. They can help you determine your liability, file the necessary paperwork, and ultimately protect the company’s interests.
Unless you have an attorney in mind, employers should consider consulting an attorney from the jurisdiction of the accident. For example, if your team member were in an accident in Houston, you’d talk to a Texas car accident attorney for the best advice and support.
You may also advise your team member to consult an attorney to protect their interests.
File An Insurance Claim
After consulting with an attorney, it’s time to file an insurance claim. Contact your auto insurance provider and supply the details you received from your team member. You can also give them a company email address or phone number to contact the worker for further information. Once the claim is filed, find out what other documentation the insurance company requires to resolve the matter. Provide this list to your attorney and team members, so they know what’s needed.
Your car insurance company isn’t the only agency you need to contact; you may also need to file a worker’s compensation claim. When a driver is on the clock, completing work-related tasks, and gets injured, they may be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries and other associated expenses.
Report the incident, provide information on the injuries, and determine the next steps for the employer and team member to file the claim.
After you’ve contacted the necessary parties and filed the appropriate claims, it’s easy to assume your responsibilities are complete. However, this isn’t the case. As the official owner of the vehicle and potential liable party, you still have a long way to go before the matter is resolved.
Employers must follow up on the claim status, provide photographs, maintenance quotes, medical reports, and other information to the appropriate agencies, and cover out-of-pocket expenses. As this can be time-consuming, it’s often best to delegate these tasks to a human resource representative, in-house legal counsel, or a car accident attorney.
Whether for operational purposes or personal use, opting to distribute company cars to your team comes with substantial responsibilities. Beyond storage, maintenance, and repairs, employers are responsible for covering emergencies like car accidents. While the hope is that your team remains safe during their travels, you never know what could happen.
Knowing what to do if a crash occurs is essential to protecting all involved parties. Use the steps above to resolve the matter quickly and professionally.