Understanding Company Car Laws in Georgia
If you are involved in a car accident in Georgia, it can be a stressful and confusing experience. But the situation becomes even more complicated if you are hit by someone driving a company car.
To help you navigate through this challenging time, it is essential to understand the laws and regulations surrounding company cars in Georgia. This will not only help you know what to expect but also protect your rights and ensure that you receive proper compensation for any damages or injuries.
What is a Company Car?
A company car is a vehicle that is owned, leased, or provided by an employer for business-related activities. Employees typically use these cars for work-related travel such as sales calls, client meetings, or deliveries. In Georgia, a company car is considered an extension of the workplace, and the employer is responsible for any accidents that occur while an employee drives it.
Employer Liability for Accidents Involving Company Vehicles
Under Georgia law, the employer may be liable for any damages and injuries if an employee is involved in an auto accident while driving a company car for work.
Examples of operating a company car within an employee’s job scope include:
- Making deliveries
- Traveling to and from a job site
- Transporting passengers for work
- Traveling to work meetings
Employers can typically avoid liability if their employee used a company vehicle for personal reasons, such as running errands when the accident occurred. When an employee gets into an accident in a company vehicle, it is essential to determine whether they acted within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident.
Why Are Employers Liable for Company Car Accidents?
As owners of their vehicles, employers are responsible for ensuring their employees are adequately trained and have the necessary qualifications to operate a vehicle safely. Employers must also provide adequate supervision and oversight to ensure employees follow safety protocols while driving.
There are scenarios where an employer may contribute to an employee’s car crash, such as setting stringent deadlines for a worker who drives recklessly to avoid work-related penalties. In such a case, the employer may be liable for any damages and injuries caused by their employee’s reckless driving.
Who Pays Damages in a Company Vehicle Crash?
Regarding personal injury accidents, Georgia is an at-fault state, meaning the at-fault driver is liable for the damages, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Businesses, organizations, and other entities that own company cars must carry commercial auto insurance, which can pay for your damages when you file a personal injury claim.
However, if the employee was off duty when they caused the company car accident, their private personal car insurance may need to pay for the damages. Also, if the employee drove a company car for personal reasons without permission, their insurance coverage will likely cover any damages.
What If an Uber or Lyft Driver hit me in Georgia?
Determining liability can be more difficult if an Uber or Lyft driver hits you. Keep in mind rideshare companies typically hire their drivers as independent contractors. This way, they can avoid several costs associated with hiring employees, such as providing benefits, paying payroll taxes, and being liable for accidents.
This doesn’t mean you cannot hold a rideshare company liable for your injuries. However, determining liability will largely depend on what the rideshare driver was doing at the time of the collision:
- The driver wasn’t logged into the app: If the driver hit you while off duty, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim against their car insurance. Like all other drivers in Georgia, rideshare drivers must carry valid auto insurance.
- The driver was logged into the app: If the driver was on duty during the accident, the rideshare company’s insurance might compensate for your injuries (up to $50,00 per person for bodily injury) if the driver doesn’t have adequate personal coverage.
- The driver was carrying a passenger or on their way to pick up a passenger: If you suffered injuries as a rideshare passenger or a rideshare driver struck you while they were going to pick up a passenger or actively transporting one, Uber and Lyft may be obligated to pay for your damages (up to $1 third-party liability).
Although these guidelines may seem straightforward, rideshare companies will try to avoid taking the blame for any accidents their drivers cause. As large for-profit corporations, rideshares don’t want to pay for accidents for obvious reasons: they can be costly and lead to many claims and a loss of revenue.
Suppose a rideshare driver caused your accident, and you’re now getting the runaround from the rideshare company and the driver’s insurance company. In that case, it may be time to contact a personal injury lawyer for help.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident With a Company Vehicle?
Protecting your legal rights is essential if you’ve been injured by someone driving a company car in Georgia. Here are the steps you should take:
1. Call the Police
Even if the accident appears minor, it’s essential to file a police report. It will help document what happened and serve as evidence of your injuries.
2. Seek Medical Attention
Don’t delay seeking medical treatment after an accident, even if you believe you’re not injured. Some symptoms may not appear for days or weeks; however, if you seek medical attention immediately, you’re more likely to receive adequate compensation for your injuries.
3. Take Pictures and Gather Information
If you can, take photos of the accident scene, including any visible injuries and property damage. Also, collect contact information from the other driver involved in the accident and any potential eyewitnesses.
4. Inform Your Insurance Company
Even if the other driver was driving a company car, you should still inform your insurance company of the accident and file a claim.
5. Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Dealing with corporate insurance companies can be challenging as they often use tactics to avoid paying for damages adequately. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Consult a Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta
Accidents involving company vehicles can be complex, and they require the assistance of a skilled attorney to ensure you receive total and fair compensation for your losses. Before accepting any settlement from an insurance company, ensure you are fully aware of your rights and how much coverage is included in the policy.
An experienced lawyer will help you determine the compensation you should receive for your injuries, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They will also advise you on the best action against the responsible driver or their employer.
If you need assistance with a car accident involving a company vehicle in Georgia, contact the Dressie Law Firm today for consultation. Our team of experienced car accident lawyers will guide you through the legal process and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Don’t wait; call us now at (678) 726-1429 for a free, no-risk legal consultation.