In Utah and Nevada, if you’re in an accident in a company car, the company’s insurance will be responsible under the legal theory of vicarious liability. That’s because the employee is the agent of the employer when they’re driving for work. Vicarious liability is also called respondeat superior. However, in Nevada, if you are not on the clock when the accident occurs, you will be held liable for the accident.
To protect your rights after an accident in a company car, contact our team of Las Vegas car accident lawyers at Valiente Mott, with offices in Reno and Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ll carefully consider the unique circumstances of your accident and advocate for your right to fair and reasonable compensation.
How Vicarious Liability Works
As noted above, vicarious liability means the employer is only liable for acts of their employee that occur when they are working—not while off-duty.
For example, John works for a company. He drives the company car and gets into an accident. The company will be vicariously liable for John’s accident if he was working when the accident occurred. The rules of vicarious liability extend not only to damage to the car but also to injuries John or others suffered in the accident.
Examples of When Liability Applies and When It Doesn’t
When you have use of a company car, there may be times during the day when you might use it for personal reasons. When an accident occurs during personal use, your employer is not responsible for your accident.
For example, you are a salesman using a company car for appointments. You attend several sales meetings. At day’s end, you stop for groceries and get into an accident in the store’s parking lot. Your employer is not liable for the accident because you ran a personal errand. This is outside the scope of your employment.
Similarly, your employer would not be liable if you met a friend for lunch and got into an accident. Such events are known as “frolic and detour” and are exceptions to vicarious liability. However, your employer would be liable if you had been in an accident while traveling to and from your sales meetings.
Typical Scope of Employment Activities
Many situations are included in the scope of employment, and the most common ones include the following:
- Driving to a business appointment
- Delivering property for an employer
- Running an errand for the employer
Note that in Nevada, an employee is not acting within the scope of employment while traveling to or from work.
Contact Valiente Mott for a Free Consultation
If you’ve been in an accident driving a company car and have suffered severe injuries, contact a Salt Lake City car accident attorney at Valiente Mott for a free consultation. Our team in Utah or Nevada can help you navigate the complex legal issues that often arise when you’re in an accident in a company car. Since we work on a contingency basis, there are no upfront legal fees.