What is the law regarding auto accidents that occur in a company car?

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What is the law regarding auto accidents that occur in a company car?

My company has interns and doctors that we take out in a company car to do surveillance. None are full-time employees with the company. My company has already stated they would not hold responsiblity if I have proven to be negelgent in the car during an accident. Which is fine. What if, per say, I was forced to drive an internnot a full-time employee, a dog ran across the road, I swerved off the road into a ditch. The intern is hurt bad. Is my company responsible for the injuries? Could I be sued? Could both me and my company be sued? I am just trying to avoid myself being put into any bad situation.

Asked on July 21, 2016 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you are driving in the course of employment, your employer may be sued: employees may be liable, or financially responsible, for accidents or injuries that their employees cause as part of their jobs. But you could be sued, too, since you were the driver, and the at-fault driver (see below) may always be sued. It would be up to the person suing whether to sue you, the employer, or both of you. If you are sued, the employer is not obligated to defend, insure, reimburse, etc. you unless 1) they agreed to do so, or 2) the company was actually at fault in causing the accident in some way (e.g. it's a company owned car, the brakes were bad, and the company refused to get them fixed or looked out even though there were some signs or warnings of problems).
Note that a driver is only responsible for accidents if he/she was at fault in causing them, which generally means driving negligently or carelessly (e.g. speeding; not paid attention, such as due to texting while driving; driving intoxicated; going through stop signs or lights; changing lanes dangerously or without looking; etc.). If you are not at fault in causing an accident, you are not liable.


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