carpool accident

Who’s Liable in a Company Carpool Accident?

As the labor market evolves, companies are offering more and more new benefits to bring on new talent or retain current employees. In lieu of standard pay increases, some are looking for ways to make work more convenient. Enter company carpools. By setting employees up with company-managed carpools, employers hope to make work more appealing to those who do not own a car and work in a position that cannot be done remotely.

But what does this mean if the carpool driver is involved in an accident? Who is liable? If you or someone you love has been injured in a carpool accident, our team is here to help. Call the Chatom office of Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley at 251-847-2237 to schedule a consultation now. Or call our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483.

The Rise of Company Carpooling

Company carpooling has become quite popular in recent years, particularly in large cities where traffic can make parking challenging. On top of that, companies have found themselves in a position where they need to be more competitive to draw from a smaller pool of talent. Through carpool programs, they hope to make it easier for new or non-driving employees to make it to work. This is particularly popular now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made public transportation riskier.

What Determines Liability and Who Could Be Liable?

With any new innovation comes new legal questions and concerns, so it’s no surprise that carpool crashes have puzzled accident victims and drivers alike. The fact is that there is no black-and-white answer, as these questions have started reaching state Supreme Courts.

Several factors go into determining accident liability. First, what role does the driver’s employer play in the carpool? The more involved they are in the carpool arrangements, the more likely it is that they have partial or full liability.

If the company selects drivers, sets them up with nearby employees, and reimburses them for their time, they are essentially asking the driver to carpool as part of their job. This would seem to place liability squarely on the employer. However, if employees worked together on their own to create a carpool arrangement, it’s unlikely that the employer would be liable. Claims would go through the driver’s insurance policy.

Another important factor is vehicle ownership. If the driver is using their own personal vehicle at the time of the crash, the employer’s insurance may argue that they have no role in the claim. However, if the driver was in a company-owned vehicle, the business could be held liable for the accident.

Work conditions could also play a role in this situation. Consider, for example, a company that provides a fully stocked refrigerator with a variety of alcoholic beverages. They should be able to foresee that this may cause some employees to drive under the influence, which could put the liability on them in a subsequent crash.

What This Means for Your Accident Claim

If you have been injured in a company carpool accident, you need someone whose only job is to protect you and your best interests. The employer’s insurance company and the driver’s insurance company may seem willing to help you, but remember, they are fighting for their own best interests. Their goal is to push liability off onto the other company—not to get you the compensation you deserve.

Working with a Chatom personal injury attorney can help you get through this process with minimal stress. They can sort out the details of the crash, figure out the intricacies of the company carpool setup, and determine who is liable. From there, they can start negotiations and hold the liable party accountable for your injuries. This limits your contact with the insurance companies and lets you focus on the recovery process.

Get the Legal Guidance You Need with Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley

A company carpool accident can leave you unsure of who to blame and how to get compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. That’s where the team at Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley comes in. From investigating the crash to negotiating fair compensation, we’ll handle the legal side of your claim while you focus on getting recovered. Call our Chatom office at 251-847-2237 or our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483 to schedule a consultation. You can also reach us online.

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