The Importance of Proper Coverage for Employees Driving on the Job

by Molly P. on May 10, 2013

  • SumoMe

(US law and generally) Competitive threats are not the only threats that business owners face daily. The threat of litigation from strangers or employees is always present, coupled with the inherent risk of losing productive assets like vehicles or inventory. Businesses that employ drivers should ensure that they insure against civil suits from strangers, civil suits from employees, and property losses.

Liability Insurance is Imperative

Business owners should carry liability insurance that covers them and their employees. In the event that the driver is at fault in an automobile accident, the business is likely to be sued for negligence. Negligence is the most common tort in the American legal system and consists of a breach of duty that causes an injury to another party.

Plaintiffs can show that business owners were negligent in hiring, training or supervising drivers. Hiring a driver with a history of traffic violations or retaining employees who engage in reckless conduct is likely to result in a lawsuit. If the business is sued for its own negligence, employers may be liable for punitive damages, which are designed to punish the wrongdoer and can greatly exceed the cost of the original injury.

Background Checks not Enough

Some employers may be tempted to skate by with low coverage limits and weak policies by being vigilant in their hiring processes. However, employers who do everything correctly will still be liable for damages resulting from accidents. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, employers are vicariously liable for any tortious actions committed by their employees while the employees are acting under the course and scope of their employment.

If the employee runs a red light, drives while intoxicated, or otherwise performs some negligent act that results in an automobile collision, the employer will still be liable for the damages even though he or she would never condone such conduct. Property damage from an automobile accident can easily run into the thousands of dollars while medical expenses can run into the millions. Without liability insurance, the business will be liable for those costs.

Workers’ Compensation is Required

Employers should also carry workers’ compensation insurance, which covers employees for injuries sustained on the job. Workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory in all states. If an employee was acting within the course and scope of his or her employment at the time of the injury, he or she will be entitled to certain benefits, including coverage for medical costs and lost income. Employers that do not cover their employees will incur a variety of state-mandated penalties. Additionally, if the employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, the employee may be able to sue the employer for his or her damages.

Commercial Car and Umbrella Policies are Prudent

Civil liability is not the only threat faced by an errant employee. Business owners should ensure that the assets entrusted to employees are protected from accidental damage. A conventional commercial automobile insurance policy will ensure that corporate vehicles are covered while umbrella policies ensure that the business owner has enough coverage to offset any losses.

If an accident does occur involving one of your employees, seek immediate representation. According to West Palm Beach accident attorneys, Steinger, Iscoe, & Green, “There is a very good chance that your insurance company just wants your situation to never involve a case or a law firm, and that’s exactly why you should seriously consider all of your options before agreeing to anything that is being offered to you”.

One can never have too much insurance. To avoid the large civil awards common in a society with rapidly increasing medical costs, business owners should have liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Additionally, businesses should ensure that their policies cover their own assets. However, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By monitoring driver performance and conduct and by performing background checks on new applicants, business owners can reduce the likelihood of needing to claim against their policies at all.

After a variety of employment experiences, Molly Pearce writes to raise awareness of the variety of insurance issues faced by employees and their bosses. West Palm Beach accident attorneys, Steinger, Iscoe, & Green, are well-versed in auto accident and worker’s compensation cases. They are also members of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, in which accepted members must have earned multi-million dollar settlements through their work.

Molly P.
Born with a Passion for art, music, fun, fashion, adventure, blogging, and life lived to the fiercest! A great variety of educational, professional, and personal experience has gifted me an open mind, strong heart, and a wealth of stories to tell. Concerned with human rights and the state of the natural world. Thriving on the fresh, thoughtful, healthy, and hilarious.
Molly P.
Molly P.
  • Sue Pitt

    You will never know how important it is to have adequate liability insurance until you are faced with a lawsuit. I was lucky enough to have Benner and Wild to represent me throughout my ordeal with a lawsuit regarding an employee’s motor vehicle accident. They were with me and supporting me the entire way.

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