Damage to personal property while testing for employer?

by John

I work for a company that tests vehicle safety electronics. This company is based in Michigan. I work for one of their offices in Indiana. While company policy is that we are to use company vehicles during testing, because they "cannot be held liable for damage to personal property," I was asked to use my motorcycle for a test, since the company does not own one.

I agreed, and in the course of testing, I lost control of my vehicle and wrecked. Since I was operating under the instruction of my employer, do they have any obligation to cover damage to my vehicle? My insurance won't cover it since it happened at work.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Damage to personal property while testing for employer?":

John (IN, USA):

The damage to your motorcycle is not covered under workers' compensation. Workers' comp only covers a worker's injuries and resulting damages. This can include medical, chiropractic, or even dental bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and about two thirds of a worker's lost wages.

Fortunately for you, your employer likely has liability property damage insurance. Their property damage insurance will likely cover the costs of repair to, or the replacement of your motorcycle.

Moreover, if you carried comprehensive or collision insurance, your own insurance company will likely have to pay for the repair or replacement of your motorcycle. That is what comprehensive and collision insurance is for.

If you carried comprehensive or collision insurance at the time of the accident, there is no legitimate reason your insurance shouldn't pay for the damage to your motorcycle.

There may be an exception. Read your policy closely. Some comprehensive and collision policies exclude coverage if the motor vehicle was used for work purposes. In any event, be sure to promptly file a property damage claim with your employer.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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