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Car Crash With an Employee: Do I File Against the Driver or the Company?

If you have been involved in a St. Louis car accident with an employee on duty, you may be unsure of what to do next.

The legal aftermath of a car accident is often hard to navigate and leaves victims confused and unsure of what to do next. This is the case when someone is hit by a driver who was on duty, commuting to work in their company vehicle, or performing work duties as drivers. 

When you are in this situation, as a victim, who do you file the claim against? Will you target the driver himself or should you address the driver’s employer? 

We will discuss this situation from a legal point of view to see what options one has when being hit by a driver on duty.

two st. louis men involved in a car accident

What Is Vicarious Liability?

Vicarious liability is a doctrine that applies in certain cases when another person, different from the driver who caused the accident, can be held responsible for their negligence. This applies to accidents caused by teen drivers, drivers who use someone else’s car, drivers who were performing work duties at the time of the accident, and so on.

This means that a driver’s employer can face a car accident claim if their employee caused an accident. The key factor in using this law as a car accident victim is being able to prove that the other driver was, indeed, performing their work duties when they caused the accident.

Most often, though, the car accident claim will directly be addressed to the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. Minor accidents are easily solved in this manner. The problem arises when the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. If their policy is not active or if it doesn’t cover the damage, you may redirect your claim towards their employer.

Still, victims can first try to use their own UMI (uninsured motorist insurance) to cover the full extent of their damage, but it’s not a rule. You can file a claim towards the driver’s employer, which many victims do because of a higher chance of company insurance covering more extensive damage.

How to Approach a Case of Vicarious Liability?

As you can see, insurance coverage can become quite complicated in some cases. If you are dealing with a similar situation, we strongly recommend getting in touch with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer. They can compare the possible outcomes of the main options you have, choosing the quickest and surest way to get the compensation you need.

What Should You Do?

It may be tempting to file a case against the employer, hoping to get higher compensation. The good news is that companies are more likely to solve the claim quicker, in order to avoid bad publicity, and they also have their own strategies to establish liability correctly. However, that’s not always the case.

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