Should I be 100% responsible for a minor accident in a vehicle that my company rented while I was on company time?

UPDATED: Sep 6, 2011

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Should I be 100% responsible for a minor accident in a vehicle that my company rented while I was on company time?

My boss rented vans for us to drive from a rental company and I accidentally scrached the side of mine on a cement gas tank. My boss gave her ins as primary and she signed the contract as the responsible party and didn’t add me as an additional driver. Well now her insurance doesn’t want to cover the damage since she wasn’t driving the van, and so the rental company is now seeking payment from our company. My company wants me to take 100% of the financial responsibility. Is this fair and right? We were both on company time while driving the rental vans.

Asked on September 6, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Some companies do have provisions that require employees to pay for damages that they cause.  Quite frankly, it's not usually an issue because most will have some type of insurance policy to cover everything.  They can, though, require you to pay for the damage.  However, the choice is still yours in the end, but your choice could affect your employment.  You are not required to accept full responsibility... unless you want to.  If the company is eventually sued, they will be liable, and then they will have you brought in as a party to the lawsuit.  They are liable because the actions which resulted in the damage occurred while you were in the course and scope of their employment.  Their defense will be that you are liable not them.  Company attorneys will make it very clear (or should make it clear) that they represent the company-- not you.  Even though the insurance policies have not kicked in, you may want to talk to your carrier and see if you have a rider that covers damage covered while operating other vehicles or if they will provide you an attorney to represent you.  If they cannot provide you with an attorney, you may want to set up a consultation with an attorney to review your policies, the company's policies, and your company handbooks.  They will then be able to give you a more specific answer depending on what is contained within those documents. 

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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