Drivers in any state are required to carry adequate insurance to cover any type of driving they do. While you might think that would settle the issue of responsibility in the case of an accident it’s not quite that simple. Several scenarios and reasons exist where the drivers do not receive the brunt of the attention. That remains true even when they caused the accidents. If your business relies on delivery drivers, learn what you need to know about insuring them.
How Laws Name Employers Liable for Employee Crashes
The legal principle that holds employers responsible for employee crashes is respondeat superior, defined by FindLaw here. Much like an employee injury on the job site, such as in a factory or on a showroom floor, the law sees the delivery person as on-the-job. That means, regardless of where they are, they are working for you. According to the law, they are at work. Therefore, the laws that make you responsible for an employee slip-and-fall also make you responsible for a car accident with a delivery driver. How much responsibility do you have to shoulder? That is debatable and can go case by case. While you might not have to carry any of the responsibility in some cases, the door that leads to you is open.
How Responsible Are You for Your Delivery Driver Accidents?
If your delivery driver is carrying adequate insurance, you might be off the hook entirely. Does that sound like a good idea? It does to us too. If your driver’s insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the accident, then you will probably have to bear some of the financial responsibility. That can happen if the damage or injuries are especially egregious and therefore costly. It can also happen if your drivers don’t have adequate insurance. If their insurance carriers do not know they are using their vehicle for work, the drivers might receive no coverage at all. They might even have their policy canceled for not informing the insurance companies of their actual vehicle usage. In either of those cases, the next stop up the chain of command is you.
Whose Car Was the Delivery Driver Using at the Time of the Accident?
If the driver used his or her own car, then the first stop will be that driver’s carrier. If the car belongs to your company, then you are going to share the responsibility for the collision claim. Company vehicles put the employee more squarely in the work environment, per the law. If you’re employees are driving your vehicles, you most definitely need adequate insurance to cover the claims resulting from auto accidents.
Insurance Claims Follow the Money
When it comes to collecting on a claim, insurance companies will often go after the bigger fish. That is always going to be the employer. When the amount of a claim is high, even proper delivery driver insurance will may not cover the cost. Insurance companies and lawyers are not prone to sit back and let such matters rest. They will seek settlement of the claim from the more financially fit party. Per simple economics, the company owner is always more financially powerful than the employee. You should always have the coverage you need to compensate for driver collisions. Anything less is a recipe for disaster.
What You Need to Do About Insuring Delivery Drivers
Your drivers need their own insurance. It should cover them when they use their own car as a work vehicle and it should cover them properly when they use yours. You should demand that they have such coverage in order to work for you. That alone will reduce your liability considerably. Secondly, plan for the worst case scenario. If your drivers get into accidents, some of the blame and financial responsibility is going to land on you. It’s the way the system is built. You need the kind of insurance that buffers you against such liabilities.
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