Am I liable for damaging a company vehicle?

One of my responsibilities at work is driving a vehicle. I became drowsy and drove the vehicle off course, side-swiping a light pole. It now has cosmetic damage and will need body work. Unfortunately it was not insured for collision, just liability. Now my employer wants me to pay for the repairs out of pocket. Is this legal?

Asked on June 4, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal. If you are are at fault in damaging another's vehicle--and if you had an accident because you swerved off course while drowsy, you were at fault--then you are liable, or responsible, to pay for the damage, even to an employer's vehicle. If you don't pay, they could sue you for the money. They may also fire you "for cause" (no unemployment) for damaging their property.


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