Visitor Question

Liability for accident while driving employer’s car?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Colorado)

I live in Colorado and am a nanny. I was driving the children and one of their friends from school to after school activities and ran a red light. I hit another car. No one was injured but both cars were damaged.

I was driving my employer’s car, which they provide for my use when I am driving their children. I drive my own car to their home and back and only use the car they provide when I have the children with me. They contacted their insurance agency, who is taking primary responsibility.

My insurance said they were secondary and would only cover if the owner’s insurance didn’t. They said the repair expenses are out-of-pocket and asked me to consider how much I feel is my financial responsibility. The Mom is a lawyer. My questions:

1. Do I have a legal responsibility to pay for repairs if they only have liability coverage?

2. If they have full coverage do I have a legal responsibility to pay their deductible?

3. What is my responsibility?

Thanks for any information you can give in this situation.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

You are legally responsible for the property damage you caused by your negligence when you ran the red light. Learn more about the concept of negligence in personal injury claims here and here.However, as owners of the car, your employers are also liable.

In the event your employer did not have property damage insurance, you may be responsible for the damage to the other car.

You do not have a legal responsibly to pay the deductible. Your employer can ask you to pay her deductible, but unless you have a written employment agreement which states that in the event of a car accident you will be liable to pay the deductible, you don’t have to be concerned about paying.

Your legal exposure will be if the owner of the car you collided with sues you personally. That is unlikely, as your employer’s insurance will likely cover the property damage. However, your employer’s insurance company may pursue your insurance company by “subrogating.”

To subrogate means your employer’s insurance company will ask your insurance to reimburse them for the monies they paid out for the property damage. Fortunately your insurance company will protect you and pay the amount up to your policy limits. In Colorado, minimum property damage legal requirements are $15,000.

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

Best of luck,

Published: October 15, 2015

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