When someone is driving for work purposes, it can be difficult to know who is responsible for any damage caused in an accident. An employer can, in some cases, be responsible for their employee's actions. This is called 'vicarious liability'. Whether an employer is responsible will depend on whether the employee was using the work vehicle for a 'work purpose' or for an unauthorised purpose. It will also depend on whether the actions of the employee can be described as 'serious or wilful misconduct'.
If you know who was at fault but you are not sure who is responsible for paying for the damage caused, you should consider the following:
If you are driving for work and you cause a car accident, you may not be the only one who has to pay for the damage you caused. In some cases you may not have to pay at all.
For more information, see
Driving for work when you are an employee or independent contractor.
If you had a car accident and the driver at fault was driving for work, you may be able to claim against their employer for the cost of the repairs to your car. This is because sometimes an employer is responsible for their employee's actions. This is called 'vicarious liability'. Whether an employer is responsible will depend on whether:
If you are certain that the driver of the other car was an employee driving for work, you may be able to make a claim against both the driver and the employer. You would need to show that the driver was an employee of the owner. If you are in this situation, you should get
If you make a claim against an employer for damage caused by their employee and the court finds that the employer is not vicariously liable, you may be ordered to pay the employer's legal costs.
If your employee causes a car accident while driving for work purposes, you will usually have to pay for the damage they have caused to other cars and property. You may not have to pay if they were guilty of 'serious or wilful misconduct' when the accident happened, or if they were using the car for their own purpose.
Your employee may be responsible to pay for damage caused to your property if they were at fault in the accident and they were using the car in a way that was not authorised by the terms of their employment.
If you are insured and you make a claim on your insurance, your insurance company, if they pay your claim, will not be able to recover that payment from your employee unless they were guilty of 'serious or wilful misconduct'.
If the other driver caused the accident, you can claim against that other driver for the cost of repairs to your car that was being driven by your employee.
For further information, see
Driving for work - Frequently Asked Questions.