If I had an accident while working on the clock in my personal vehicle while running, is my employer liable for damages to my vehicle?

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If I had an accident while working on the clock in my personal vehicle while running, is my employer liable for damages to my vehicle?

I was running an errand for my company in my personal vehicle while working and accidentally hit a few mailboxes. When I turned a corner the items I was hauling for my company fell and distracted me while I was driving in turn causing the accident. I do get paid mileage for running errands for the company. There is no signed legal document for my using my personal vehicle for work, just a verbal agreement. There is significant damage to my vehicle. I have full coverage insurance with $1000 deductible. Is my employer liable for damages or paying my deductible?

Asked on January 4, 2017 under Accident Law, Minnesota

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you're driving your own car "on the clock" (i.e. while engaged in a work activity) and get into an accident, your employer should be liable for the damages, etc., although you may have to make a claim on your own policy. However, it's also possible that your employer's auto insurer will pay. Ask your employer who you should call if there's an accident. That having been said, no matter which insurance company you talk to first after an accident (yours or your employer's), you should let the insurance adjuster know that you were traveling on business. Your personal auto insurer shouldn't deny your claim just because you were traveling on business, although it might try to recover the money from your employer's insurance company later. If you get into an auto accident while you're "on the clock", it's always better to start with your employer's insurer, since the fewer claims on your personal record, the better. As for the deductible, your employer may or may not offer to pay. You could try to sue for reimbursement in small claims court. However if your employment is "at will", you could be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, so think carefully before doing so.


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