Owning a car and then having to drive to work and do runarounds for official work duties in your vehicle can be very satisfying especially as you get to avoid the hassle and troubles associated with the Nigerian public transport system.
Still, it gets a lot more interesting and fun, if you have to do all of these in a company, as several operational costs, is taken off your shoulders.
Thus, you get to worry less about the amount to be spent on petrol, the distance you get to cover when driving and the repair and maintenance costs you would have had to spend. So, all of these are taken out of the window if you get to perform official duties in a company car.
However, just as there are beneficial perks that come with using a company car for official duties, there are drawbacks too that you may have to contend with, and one such drawback which forms the basis for this article is directly related to what happens when you get involved in an accident in a company car, how an accident in company car affect personal insurance and who pays for an accident in a company car?
Being involved in an accident can be stressful
3 factors to consider when involved in an accident in a company car
So, several companies and organizations provide and official car for their employees to perform certain duties, like making deliveries and following up on big investment partners. However, the big question now is, "What happens if you get in an accident while driving a company car"?. Well, several scenarios will strongly influence the direction of what happens after such unfortunate events and who bears the numerous costs that arise in this kind of event. Thus the big questions that will form the background for the discussions and decisions that will follow include:
- Who was on the wheel at the time of the accident?
- Did this event occur while using the vehicle for official company duties?
- Was the official at the wheels under the influence of alcohol or hard drugs?
1. Who was on the wheel at the time of the accident?
This is possibly one of the first questions that will be asked by your employer during the post-accident investigation rounds. The HR people or the Safety guys will want to know if the official responsible person was on the wheels. Some organizations will not allow third-parties like personal drivers, spouses, and friends to handle official cars. So, this question will become very prominent for the company people during their investigation as they will want to find out who was at the wheels when the accident occurred.
So if the event happened when you were at the wheels, then you may be free. However, if you were not at the wheels when the accident occurred, then you possibly know that you have big questions to answer and may have to bear some costs.
Following company policy when it comes to the use of official cars is the best decision
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2. Did this event occur while using the vehicle for official company duties?
Another area that the investigators will be looking at is if the vehicle was on official duties when the crash occurred. So, if you were on official duties when the event occurred, you may likely be free from bearing some of the post-accident cost.
However, if the vehicle was used for non-official duties when the accident occurred, then you know that most of the cost will rest on your head squarely.
3. Was the official at the wheels under the influence of alcohol or hard drugs?
This aspect does not need you to be a lawyer to understand the ramifications of this type of scenario.
It doesn't matter the answer to the previous two questions i.e, if you were at the wheels when the accident occurred or whether the vehicle was on official duties, you will be heavily responsible for the bills that result from the incident.
Driving under the influence effectively takes away all your grace and leaves you open to a whole range of issues you must deal with if you get in an accident in such a non-sober state.
What to expect when involved in an accident in a company car
So there are some things you must know that should help you navigate a post-accident situation especially if you had the crash while driving in a company car. The following are things you should keep in mind:
First, you should try to determine who was at fault concerning the accident. The importance of this can not be overstated, as it lays the background of a whole lot of stuff that happens after.
So if you were the victim in a crash, the implication is that the other driver and his insurance company will have to bear most of the post-accident costs. For such a driver, the bills may become a burden if he/she didn't have an active vehicle insurance cover in place. This is why we always advise Nigerians to take out "The comprehensive auto insurance policy" to cover all road eventualities.
Make sure you take out an insurance policy before taking to the road
However, if your actions resulted in the crash, then several scenarios creep up that will be seriously impacted by the answers given to the 3 questions stated in the section above.
- If your company has a No-Third-Party Usage and you were not at the wheels when the accident occurred, then you may have to a lot of bills to pay possibly from your salary or by your insurance company if you have any active insurance cover.
- Were you on official duties when the crash occurred? If you were not, then you and possibly your insurance company will have to bear most of the post-accident cost since your company's insurance company might argue that you went against company policy by using an official car for personal business. But, if you were on official duties and was at fault, then your company's insurance firm will have to cover the post-accident bills including your medicals expenses and also the third party bills. This situation is referred to as respondeat superior and is a civil law that put the responsibility on the employer when the employee was acting for his principal officially.
Please Note: The respondeat superior mandates your employer's insurance company to pay for your medical bills provided you were on official duties irrespective of if you were at fault or not. However, if you were not at fault and the other party's insurance company covers your medical bills, then you are not allowed to receive any payment from your employer's insurance company and should refund accordingly in the event of double payment.
- The question of driving under the influence must also be answered and spells a lot of trouble especially if you were driving in a company car. It takes away a lot and you may struggle to prove your case even when you were not at fault. If you don't have an insurance cover, then you may be seriously sued by either the third party to compel you to bear the costs that result or even the company you work for since the insurance company might not be willing to bear the cost since you were driving under the influence.
What if you were using your personal car to perform official company duties when you got in an accident that was possibly your fault. Then your insurance company has to negotiate with your employer's insurer to compel them to either cover your bills in full or pay adequate compensation on your behalf.
>>> Check out All you need to know about Nigeria auto insurance policy
After reading this, I’m certain you've become better enlightened and will be better prepared to face the different post-accident scenarios that come up. Remember it is compulsory and mandatory that you have an insurance cover before you take to the road with your car, if not you're liable to be sued in the event of an accident in a company car.
Let's conclude with the following video, please watch and learn: