Should I have to pay for damages for an accident while on duty?

by Richard
(Hackettstown, NJ)

I was in an accident while working for a Subaru dealership. I was given keys and told to get gas in the car, but got into an accident at the gas station. It was my fault, though it was a dark rainy day when it happened. Several weeks later I found that my company's insurance has a deductible of $1500 that I would have to pay, plus the cost of the damages to the other person's vehicle.

I don't believe that I should have to pay for an accident that happened while on duty. It almost doesn't make sense to work for a company who wants me to drive their cars at 100% of my own responsibility. Seems as though I would be better off just driving my car, that way at least it would make sense for the responsibility to be mine.

Looking for any and all information that would help my situation because I don't have an extra $2000 lying around. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Should I have to pay for damages for an accident while on duty?":

Richard (Hackettstown, NJ):

If you were working for the Subaru dealership at the time of the accident, the Subaru dealership should be vicariously liable for the damages you caused.

You were "working within the scope of your normal business duties." Doing so should make the dealership liable. It is very likely the dealership has liability insurance, and that insurance should cover any damages an employee causes while working.

If you had veered from the route you were supposed to take, or where at lunch or on break when the damage occurred, the dealership might not be liable, as you would not have been acting within the scope of your normal work duties.

Speak with the service manager and explain what happened. Whether it was your fault or not, the dealership’s insurance should cover the damage. If the dealership refuses to accept vicarious liability, you would be in a tough position.

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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