What is an emloyer’s responsibility regarding an accident that an employee had in a company truck that they took after house?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is an emloyer’s responsibility regarding an accident that an employee had in a company truck that they took after house?

Our parked car was hit by a construction truck at 8:45 am. Our car was totaled 2 other parked cars were hit as well. The driver of the van, fled the scene. The construction company who owns the truck is now claiming the truck was stolen we believe it was an employee who had access to the keys/truck and was on their property during business hours, they open 6:30 am. During the immediate investigation, the police told my husband they had video surveillance from the construction company showing this woman taking their truck they mentioned they would be picking her up later that day there was clear assumption that they had identified the suspect – meaning someone at the construction company knew who she was. We have contacted their insurance and they claim no liability. What do we do here, as the victim? We do not have comprehensive insurance as the car is paid off; we only paid for the required liability as full coverage insurance is a risk we take. However, doesn’t this construction company need to assume responsibility for what their vehicle did, especially since the vehicle wasn’t broken into or hot-wired per police at the accident scene. Also, this driver who drove the truck at least 1 mile to the accident site had to have some sort of training or knowledge on how to drive this type of vehicle. As the victim, I went to the police department but they won’t release the criminal police report on the suspect even though our insurer is telling us that we will need to sue the company or the driver for retribution. It feels uncomfortable that the burden of proof is on us, the victims, and we seem to be getting nowhere on trying to get any evidence. Can anyone help here? We are considering small claims court, even though max is 5K, as it seems like the most efficient and least disruptive way to get something out of this. How do we get our hands on evidence?

Asked on April 23, 2019 under Accident Law, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your recourse is to sue the construction company (vehicle owner) for negligence. The driver should also be named as a defendant in the same lawsuit and sued for negligence.
As for evidence, you can obtain the accident report from the police because your vehicle was in the accident. This is separate from the criminal report the police refused to release. Additional evidence is the video. You will have to ask the judge to issue the subpoena for the video or you will need an attorney to issue the subpoena. The attorney will be costly. Since you are talking about small claims court, where there aren't any attorneys, it wouldn't make sense to have a costly attorney issue the subpoena.
Depending on the value of your car, you might want to file your lawsuit in a higher court instead of small claims.

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