Company insurance claim, an employee damaged his own vehicle while backing up in a company truck.. Should the employer be held responsible?

Employee parked his personal vehicle near the warehouse where the company truck
is kept and left the door open on his personal vehicle. When he was backing the
company truck out of the warehouse he ended up clipping the door on his personal
car damaging it and knocking it off. No damage to company truck. The company
policy has a 5k deductible so the repairs will end up coming out of the employers
pocket to fix damages an employee caused to his own vehicle by his own
negligence. Should the employer be held responsible in this case?

Asked on September 12, 2017 under Accident Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The employer is NOT responsible when it is the employee's own carelessness (as it was here) in causing the damage. The at-fault party can be held liable to pay, and also, the law does not let someone profit by their own wrongful or careless act. The insurer did not have to pay him--they could choose to do so, as anyone could could choose to pay voluntarily when they do not have to--but if the insurer refuses to pay, he will be unable to force them to do so. (E.g. if he sues for the money, his own carelessness and liability would be interposed as a "set off" vs. what he claims the other side owes him, which--since he was 100% responsible, based on what you write--would act as a 100% offset or reduction vs. what he hopes to get.) And if any of the cost goes back to the employer, they could sue the employer to recover the money.


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