Can I hold my former employer responsible for damages that occurred to my vehicle while on a delivery?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I hold my former employer responsible for damages that occurred to my vehicle while on a delivery?

Can I hold my former employer responsible for damages that occurred to my vehicle while on the job? I have in my possession the receipt from the repair that I had to pay for. Details I was a pizza delivery driver.

While on a delivery on the customer’s property I ran over a huge jagged rock that could not be avoided. This rock tore a hole in my vehicle’s oil pan and I had to pay out of pocket to have it repaired. I have spoken with the customer/property owner and I don’t believe trying to get them pay will be an option, as they make less money than I do. This explains the condition of the driveway. Since this incident occurred on private property there is no liability from the Department of Transportation. However, would my employer have any liability? I was on the clock doing my job when this incident happened. I’m sure they have insurance on their drivers, in case of an accident. However that insurance usually only covers damages to another person’s vehicle. I have not yet spoken with any of the HR at my former employers HQ but when/if I do Im sure they’re going to tell me they aren’t responsible for my incident. When/If that happens, can I take them to small claims? Aside from the judge’s decision, what are my realistic chances of getting my money back? Frankly, $450 is a lot of money to someone like me. I have no income right now and that $450 I lost was a 2 week

paycheck. I feel like I worked my last 2 weeks for free.

Asked on August 7, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You have as close to 0% winning as is possible, based on what you write. (Once in a great while, a court does something inexplicable, so that's why we can't say there is no chance at all.) The simple fact is, an employer is NOT responsible for damage to your vehicle, even if you using it at work, unless they were at fault in causing the damage (such as if another employee, also driving for work, backed his car into yours). Being on the clock or at work or dirving for work does not make them liable; fault is required for liability.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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