Am I liable for damaging a company vehicle?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I liable for damaging a company vehicle?

One of my responsibilities at work is driving a vehicle. I became drowsy and drove the vehicle off course, side-swiping a light pole. It now has cosmetic damage and will need body work. Unfortunately it was not insured for collision, just liability. Now my employer wants me to pay for the repairs out of pocket. Is this legal?

Asked on June 4, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal. If you are are at fault in damaging another's vehicle--and if you had an accident because you swerved off course while drowsy, you were at fault--then you are liable, or responsible, to pay for the damage, even to an employer's vehicle. If you don't pay, they could sue you for the money. They may also fire you "for cause" (no unemployment) for damaging their property.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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