What will happen regarding a car accident in a company vehicle?

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What will happen regarding a car accident in a company vehicle?

An employee was doing a delivery in a work car and dosed off behind the wheel because lack of rest. They told the manager that they were tired before the delivery and the car crashed into something. Will the employee be

responsible for the damage or the store manager or injuries involved?

Asked on June 8, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Any third person who was injured or whose property (e.g. car) was damaged can sue at their option the employee (who is liable because he was negligent or at fault) and/or the store (who is liable because employers are liable when their employees are negligent in the course of their jobs--which this person was) and/or the owner of the car, if it was someone other than the employee or store (because a vehicle's owner is responsible when those whom he/she/it allows to drive are negligent). Or the injured person can sue all the above--you can sue more than one person, when more than one may be liable. So is it likely that a third person will either sue the store only (if they feel the employee would have no money to pay) or the store and employee.
The store can bring its own claim against the employee to make him or her pay (assuming he or she can), since the employee was the one who was at-fault: drioving when you are tired is negligent, and the employee should have refused to drive if the employee could not do so safely. The store can recover from the employee any amounts it has to pay others or for damage to its car.
The above is ignoring insurance: assuming the store had the proper (commercial, since the car was used for business) insurance on the vehicle, the store should turn this over to their insurer to handle for them. The insurer may then decide to sue the employee to recover what it has to pay out (this is called "subrogation").


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