When workers get injured in car accidents driving their company’s vehicle, liability is not always clear. That is why our San Diego auto accident attorney at the Law Office of Edward J. Babbitt, APC., often receives questions from prospective clients asking about liability in motor vehicle collisions that occur when the worker is driving his or her employer’s vehicle.
This is the question we received the other day. “Hello Edward Babbitt! I was recently injured in a car accident while on the clock and driving my company’s vehicle. When the company provided the vehicle, it told me that this was “a company vehicle,” but after the accident, it seems that they are trying to walk away from their claims. I was recently contacted by one of my supervisors asking me if I could please lie to the insurance company and say that I was actually borrowing the car because I don’t have my own car (I actually do). I’m not prepared to lie, and am trying to understand what’s really going on. I’m worried that if I refuse to lie and comply with my employer’s request to lie they could fire me. Thanks in advance for your legal consultation. Brian from San Diego.”
What to do if your employer asks you to lie to the insurance company?
Thank you for your question, Brian. It is very unfortunate that you have found yourself in this stressful situation. First and foremost, no matter how much pressure your employer puts on you, do NOT lie under any circumstances. In fact, avoid giving recorded statements to anyone, especially the insurance company, if you are not represented by an experienced auto accident attorney in San Diego.
Giving false information to insurance companies is considered “insurance fraud” and is a crime punishable by California law. Answering the second part of your question, do not worry about losing your job, because if they do fire you for not complying with their requests to give a false statement to the insurer, you may have a right to sue your employer for wrongful termination.
If you have been injured while driving your company’s vehicle, you have a right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits because the accident occurred in the course of employment. Also, you may have a right to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party who caused the auto accident.
Liability in car accidents when you’re driving a company vehicle
Even if you do say that you borrowed the car, the vehicle owner’s insurance would still apply to cover your medical expenses and other damages. Your own insurance, meanwhile, would be secondary. It does not makes sense why your employer wants you to lie that you borrowed the car, because the car owner’s insurance is always the primary insurance to cover the costs of property damage and bodily injury.
Also, regardless of who was at fault for the accident occurring in the course of employment, you should be covered by workers’ comp benefits. Whatever happens, always tell the truth and stand your ground. Telling lies will not get you far, and can severely hurt your case and damage your credibility in and out of court.
Even if your employer does not have insurance, you will still be covered by the Unemployed Insurance Fund, which provides compensation to workers whose employer does not carry workers’ comp insurance.
If you have a question for our San Diego auto accident attorney at the Law Office of Edward J. Babbitt, APC., give us a call at 619-543-1789 or complete this contact form. Schedule a free consultation today.