Is my employer obligated to pay for damage to my personal truck when using it while at work

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Is my employer obligated to pay for damage to my personal truck when using it while at work

I was at work using my personal truck
to tow a company trailer as directed by
my supervisor. I had expressed concerns
in the past about towing the company
trailers when loaded as they can weigh
8000 to 10000 pounds and feel unsafe
for my truck. But they had asked me
over and over to tow them and I
obliged. This time the trailer was
loaded improperly by someone else and
when I entered the freeway it began to
shimmy and caused me to lose control
and crash.

Asked on December 31, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

IF the trailer were loaded improperly by a coworker and that led to the damage or accident, the employer may be liable: an employer is liable for the negligent, or careless, actions of its staff done during or for work. Of course, even if this were the case, if the employer will not voluntarily reimburse you, you'd have to sue; and to win the lawsuit, you'd have to prove somehow  by a preponderance of the evidence (that it is more likely than not) that the improper loading led to the accident. 
If the trailer were loaded by an employee of your employer, however, the employer is not liable: employers may ask employees to use their personal vehicles and are not responsible for damage to them unless the employer in some way caused the damage, as discussed above.


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