Driving your car means you are liable for whatever you cause on the road. Everything that happens, including an accident, is your liability. It is now the burden of your insurance company to pay up for the consequences of your actions. The rule is clear as to driving your vehicle. However, when the car is not yours, and you encounter an accident, who is liable to pay for the injuries and property damage you caused?
In the context of a company-owned vehicle, and you are the one driving, who will pay for injuries caused to third parties or damage to somebody else’s vehicle if you encounter a car accident? You may only answer these questions if you know what laws and regulations may apply to the situation.
After a car accident in Texas that involves a company vehicle, you will probably get nervous about how you will explain the situation to your boss with the fear that the damage you caused will affect your employment status. You may also be afraid that you will be asked to pay the company the repair cost for the damaged company vehicle. When it comes to injuries sustained by other persons because of the accident, is it you who shall pay for it? Can the third person file a suit against your company?
The Question of Liability in Car Accidents in Texas Involving a Company Vehicle
Under relevant laws in Texas, the liability in car accidents in Texas involving company vehicles depends on several factors. Whether the driver is negligent is a critical consideration. We should also consider whether the driver performed his official functions or duties when the accident happened. We shall also determine whether the driver’s destination will be sanctioned by his employment. Another consideration is whether the company exercised due diligence in selecting the driver.
Many questions need accurate answers to know who is primarily liable for car accidents in Texas. A car accident lawyer in Houston helps gather enough evidence and determine who is ultimately responsible. As there are many legal implications of a car accident, it is best to hire a car accident lawyer when you encounter car accidents in Texas, especially if you are unsure from whom you can legally demand compensation.
Take a Look at the Driving Record of the Driver
A driver’s driving record is good evidence of a driver’s performance and faithful obedience to existing traffic laws. A driving record shows offenses committed by the driver if any. The driving records also tally demeanors caused by the driver. A good driver is not negligent in his affairs and faithfully abides by the appropriate law. A driving record showed that one driver had a previous violation for speeding, which increases the risk of car accidents. You can also see through the driving record whether there was an instance that the driver was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs while driving.
During the investigation of car accidents in Texas, the police will look at the driver’s driving record to initially assess the driver’s character based on his records.
Hiring a Driver with a Negative Driving record is Risky for the Employer
Hiring a driver with a negative driving record is risky to the employer. If the employee driving a company vehicle encounters an accident, and it is found that this driver has a bad driving record, it becomes the company’s liability. The company will suffer the risk of being liable for hiring a bad driver. The company must only hire competent drivers with clean driving records. Otherwise, it implies negligence on the company’s part to screen their employees thoroughly. It is not wise to select drivers with bad driving records. Thus, the company cannot excuse itself from liability if its company driver or employee driving a company vehicle caused damage on the road.
Screening and selection of drivers shall not be taken for granted. The company cannot also invoke the excuse that they do not know about the driver’s bad driving record. This is a fundamental obligation in nature. If the company fails to check and scrutinize a driver’s driving record, it bears the risk of assuming liability when this driver causes problems in the future. The selection of employees shall be a priority of every employer. Later on, if the employee commits wrongdoing on the road, it becomes the fault of the employer to pay a third person injured in the accident.
Negligent Hiring of Drivers
The company bears the risk of negligent hiring of divers. Thus, at the very beginning, the employer shall make it a requirement that drivers shall be able to present their driving record. This requirement shall not only be for compliance but must be carefully examined by the company. The company cannot later on give a lame excuse that it lacked time to scrutinize the driver’s driving records because of so many applicants. Before anything else, this must be the primordial consideration.
Negligence of Employer vs. Negligence of an Employee
Ultimately, the concept of negligence involves two parties. On the one hand, we will discuss the effects of negligence on the employer. On the other hand, we will discuss the impact of the employee’s negligence.
It would help if you remembered that as long as the employee acts within the scope of their official functions, whatever injury they caused on the road makes the employer vicariously liable. This means that it does not matter if the accident is caused solely by the employee. Since that employee is acting upon the orders of the employer, accidents resulting from driving a company-owned vehicle make the employer liable.
For example, suppose the employee driving a company vehicle encounters an accident during office hours. In that case, there is a presumption that he is driving within the scope of his authority in the ordinary course of business. In the event a car accident in Texas occurs, even if it is the employee himself who was negligent, the employer remains liable to third persons injured in the accident. This is the concept of vicarious liability. The employer will answer for the acts committed by the employee in car accidents involving the company vehicle.
What Needs to be Proven for the Employer to be Held Liable
A few elements must be proven for the employer to be held liable in car accidents involving company vehicles in Texas. Below are the things that must be proven:
a. A person was injured because of the accident
b. The negligent offender is an employee of the defendant
c. The act was done while the employee was performing his official functions
In other words, you can go after the employer even if the employer has no personal participation in the accident. The employer is liable not because he is involved in the accident but because the accident happened while the employee was working for him. He cannot excuse himself from liability simply because he was not present when the accident occurred.
However, there are exceptions to the general rule. If, for example, the driver used the company vehicle for personal use without the employer’s consent and did it outside his authority, then in this case, the employer may not be held liable. It is necessary to examine the totality of the circumstances to determine who shall be held responsible.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Houston
The question of who becomes liable when a car crash involves a company vehicle is difficult to answer. That is why you need to hire a car accident lawyer in Houston to help you file a claim or lawsuit against who shall be made liable. When you encounter a car crash in a company vehicle, it is a waste of time and resources to go after the wrong person. Consult immediately with a lawyer at O’Hara Law Firm to help you find legal solutions to your problem.
Lawyers at O’Hara Law Firm have vast experience in many fields of expertise. You can trust that your engagement with the firm will give you peace of mind for the legal problem you experience. Lawyers at O’Hara Law Firm will help you gather enough evidence to support your claim. If you are the victim of a car accident in Texas, these lawyers from the firm will help you identify how much you will be able to receive as compensation. The lawyers will exercise whatever means they have so that you will get the monetary award that you deserve. Suppose you are the offender or negligent party in a car crash involving a company vehicle. In that case, these lawyers will help you switch the burden to the employer instead of being held personally liable for the damage you caused.
Do not allow yourself to carry the burden alone when you are involved in car accidents in Texas. Call a car accident lawyer in Houston to advise you on the next steps you should take. A car accident lawyer has all the legal expertise to help you get out of the problem.