accidents in company cars


Let The Master Answer. This legal principle can apply to accidents with company cars. An employer can be held responsible for an employee’s acts. The term for this is respondeat superior. The key is the employer-employee relationship. Not the company car, per se. Thus, the doctrine can apply to employees driving their own cars for work purposes. In that scenario, the employee’s car is “as if” a company car. In contrast, it may not apply when an employee is driving a company car on personal time. When respondeat superior does apply, it shifts liability from employee to employer.


In law, an employer and employee are a principal (employer) and an agent, the employee. It’s an agency relationship. The law sees the agent as under the control of the principal. Hence, an employer can be accountable for an employee’s acts. This is a simple idea. It makes sense. In the real world, though, things are often not so simple.

Some conditions apply. The employee has to have been acting within the course and scope of the employment. That is, the employee’s actions had to have been job-related. Suppose an employee hits a pedestrian while driving a company car while on vacation. The driver’s job had nothing to do with the accident. If respondeat superior applied to this case, our world would be totally different. Most adults have jobs, after all. Employers would be responsible for everything!

Here’s another test for respondeat superior. Suppose an employee is driving a company car, on the job. If he or she intentionally and purposefully hits a pedestrian, the employer would probably not be held responsible. Respondeat superior doesn’t generally apply to an employee’s criminal acts. This, too, makes sense. This being the law, however, it doesn’t end there. Was the employer negligent in hiring this employee? Say, by not finding out the employee doesn’t have a driver’s license? But does have convictions for assault?  There is, too, the issue of supervision. If an employee causes an accident due to lack of proper supervision, the liability can be the employer’s.


This has been a “getting feet wet” about accidents with company cars. You see that liability in such cases can get very complex. That’s why anyone injured in such an accident needs to contact an experienced Boynton Beach personal injury attorney ASAP. Call Silver Injury Law, PA for a free consultation. 561-336-6331.

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