If my fellow drivers and I are all independent contractors for a courier company, what happens if I have an accident with a company vehicle?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If my fellow drivers and I are all independent contractors for a courier company, what happens if I have an accident with a company vehicle?

We all drive our own cars for regular package deliveries but when transporting live animals, we all use a temperature controlled company vehicle. Independent contractors drive these vehicles 99% of the time. If, however, I recently damaged the rear of a company sprinter van backing into a loading dock, whose insurance pays for the damage? And does this fall under the costs of doing business and can they sue me if my insurance won’t cover it?

Asked on December 23, 2015 under Accident Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you were at fault--e.g. you were negligent or careless, which you probably were if you backed into a loading dock (a court would typically consider doing this to be careless driving), you can be held liable for the cotst of the damage you did. Your employer can sue you for the cost to repair; or if they submit an insurance claim and are paid, their insurer can sue you to recover the money they paid out. If you have insurance that covers you, your insurance may pay for you, but if they don't, you'll have to pay. Of course, your employer and/or its insurer don't have to sue you--it's their choice--but they have the right to.

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