Is my employer obligated to pay for damage to my personal truck when using it while at work

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is my employer obligated to pay for damage to my personal truck when using it while at work

I was at work using my personal truck
to tow a company trailer as directed by
my supervisor. I had expressed concerns
in the past about towing the company
trailers when loaded as they can weigh
8000 to 10000 pounds and feel unsafe
for my truck. But they had asked me
over and over to tow them and I
obliged. This time the trailer was
loaded improperly by someone else and
when I entered the freeway it began to
shimmy and caused me to lose control
and crash.

Asked on December 31, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

IF the trailer were loaded improperly by a coworker and that led to the damage or accident, the employer may be liable: an employer is liable for the negligent, or careless, actions of its staff done during or for work. Of course, even if this were the case, if the employer will not voluntarily reimburse you, you'd have to sue; and to win the lawsuit, you'd have to prove somehow  by a preponderance of the evidence (that it is more likely than not) that the improper loading led to the accident. 
If the trailer were loaded by an employee of your employer, however, the employer is not liable: employers may ask employees to use their personal vehicles and are not responsible for damage to them unless the employer in some way caused the damage, as discussed above.

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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