Sales are the cornerstone of business success. You cannot imagine the growth and success of your company unless you have a committed team of sales representatives. But as you manage a team that travels to meet clients and close leads, there is always a risk of traffic accidents. No matter how careful the representatives are, they may still get into a crash and injure themselves and others on the road. So it makes sense to understand your liability as an employer for car accidents by sales representatives.
Things may differ when they are making sales calls in the company vehicle or using personal vehicles. You may have to compensate the injured employee under the workers’ compensation claim. Further, you may face a personal injury lawsuit from victims injured in the accident. It is vital to know when you are liable to take the right approach to insurance. Here are some facts that you need to understand.
Mishaps when the employee is “on the job”
Any time that an employee is performing duties related to work, they are considered on the job, and a sales call comes under the same. It applies even when the representative is driving a personal car rather than the company vehicle. But they should specifically be on official duty rather than running errands during lunch or commuting to and from work.
When it comes to traffic mishaps during sales calls, it covers just when the representative is driving to or from the client’s place, not commuting to the workplace from home or their way back. It is only in these situations that your company can be held liable for the accident caused by them.
Vicarious liability implications
As an employer, you need to comprehend the concept of vicarious liability that comes into play when an employee has an accident while on job-related tasks, including sales calls. Under this clause, the business can be held liable for the negligence of an employee while working. It empowers victims with the right to sue the company for the damages caused by their employees due to accidents on a sales call.
You can seek advice from an attorney to understand the concept of vicarious liability and its implications better. The best car accident attorneys who work hard for their clients will try to prove the liability of the company rather than the employee, which is something you would want to avoid. It is because this approach can yield far better compensation for their client as they are pitted against a company instead of an individual.
Insurance can be a savior
When a sales rep has a car accident in a personal vehicle, the business would want the employee’s car insurance to cover the damages or injuries. While it may be possible in most cases, things can get challenging if the employee does not have adequate coverage. It may happen in major accidents or ones that involve multiple victims. The compensation may be far more in value than a normal policy covers, and the victims will claim from the next in line.
As a vicariously liable employer, you will have to pay the excess over and above the amount paid by the employee’s insurance. It would be wise to get appropriate coverage for your business auto insurance policy to get protection against this eventuality.
Workers’ compensation for employee injuries
When an employee has a car accident on a sales call, there is a possibility that they may also get injured, in addition to hurting pedestrians or other drivers and passengers. The injured employees can also be eligible for worker’s compensation claim if they were hurt when driving personal vehicles for business purposes, here a sales call. The employee’s insurance will cover their injuries up to the amount covered if he or she is insured.
Over and above the coverage, the cost of further injuries or lost wages is borne by the worker’s compensation. The injuries in a car accident for sales reps are treated just like any other on-the-job injuries, so the employee can claim compensation for their injuries as long as they were not negligent.
In most cases, things are pretty clear when an accident occurs during a sales call because the employee is on official duty. However, the issue may get complicated in a situation when there isn’t clarity about whether the employee was on the job when the crash happened. From the company’s perspective, it is best to avoid such mishaps in the first place. It is possible only if you have stringent vehicle safety rules and policies for the employees in place. Mishaps may still happen, so you also need to deal with the situation with the right processes and a seasoned lawyer to represent your business.