Houston has one of the most attractive markets for entrepreneurial spirits in search of work opportunities, and over the last decade, it has become densely populated. Needless to say, hundreds of thousands of company vehicles take the road every day. It is important to recognize that all vehicles operating for business purposes are considered a commercial vehicle, which means many factors are at play when determining liability for an accident.
The aftermath of an accident involving a company vehicle and a passenger vehicle can be devastating, especially financially. If you or a loved one is hurt in a wreck with a company vehicle, you’ll suddenly find yourself trying to manage your mental and physical health along with high medical bills, rigorous treatments, and vehicle repairs. If you believe that your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, then you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. Consult a Houston company vehicle accident lawyer at Sutliff & Stout for compassionate and competent legal advice.
Accidents Involving Company Vehicles in Houston
A common misconception is that commercial vehicles are ones that carry more than 15 passengers. However, any vehicle titled or registered under a company name is classified as a commercial vehicle. Generally, commercial vehicles have two purposes: fleet use and transportations of goods and services. Fleet vehicles are cars commonly used for business travel and can be any size. Most employers provide their employees with economical vehicles l to make their way around town. Commercial vehicles that are used for the transportation of goods and services are often larger and weigh more, like trucks or vans.
Either way, both the driver and vehicle have to follow specific regulations, laws, and insurance requirements to operate these vehicles. When these rules are not met, accidents have a higher risk of occurring. Each year, company vehicle accidents cost employers nearly $60 billion in legal discrepancies, medical bills, property damage, and loss of employee productivity.
Not only do these accidents have the potential to cause irreversible damage to vehicles on the roads, but occupants in passenger vehicles can sustain life-threatening injuries, such as:
- Cuts and bruises
- Facial injuries
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue damage
If you were injured in a car accident in Houston that involved a company vehicle, you’re likely feeling frustrated with all there is to do regarding your medical treatment and complex legal matters. Rather than suffering alone, talk to company vehicle accident attorneys at Sutliff & Stout for a no-obligation case review concerning your legal rights and next steps.
How is Liability Determined in Company Vehicle Accidents?
Unlike traditional car accidents, multiple parties may be involved when a commercial vehicle accident occurs. Therefore, liability might not fall under a specific party. Instead, more than one party may be responsible for the accident. Parties that can be held liable in a company vehicle accident in Houston include:
- The employer
- The vehicle manufacturer
- The driver
Employers are expected to hire qualified, experienced, and licensed drivers, and they need to make certain that their employers are supervised when operating a company vehicle. An employer can be at-fault if they fail to perform or provide their employees with the following:
- Vehicle history
- Background check
- Scheduled vehicle maintenance
In addition, if a vehicle manufacturer fails to report any recalls such as faulty tires, brakes, or a transmission issue, then the manufacturer can be partly or fully responsible for the accident that occurred. Both the employer and vehicle manufacturer will have big insurance companies helping them when a serious situation like an accident arises. Let the Houston company vehicle accident lawyers at Sutliff & Stout provide you with the aggressive representation you need to obtain a fair settlement from the involved insurance providers.
When Might the Employee Be Held Responsible?
Just like any other driver, an employee operating a company vehicle must follow the rules of the road. If an employee acts negligently in any of the following ways, then they may hold full responsibility for the accident and injuries you’ve endured. These include:
- Criminal activity: Use of drugs or alcohol, speeding, driving without lights, or driving with a suspended license are all examples of criminal activity in which an employee would be held liable for an accident
- Going on a frolic: An employee using their company vehicle to perform activities outside their scope of work, such as running personal errands
- Other non-business activity: An employee may have an agreement with their employer that establishes certain conditions for operating the vehicle, like hours of operation, travel time and locations, and vehicle occupants
- Independent contractor: If the employee drives their own vehicle for company use, then they will have to use their own insurance or pay out of pocket to compensate you
Contact a Skilled Company Vehicle Accident Attorney in Houston
When driving on the road, we expect that commercial drivers are doing whatever it takes to safely operate their vehicles. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. If you’ve been in a car accident involving a company car, you may have to sue several parties to be fully compensated for your losses. Because there are many elements to consider, the best way for you to handle this complex situation is to seek legal guidance from a skilled company vehicle accident attorney in Houston.
At Sutliff & Stout, we take pride in building personal relationships with our clients in order to fully understand their hardships. When our clients are open with us about their struggles, we are able to recognize what is important to them. When you work with our Board-Certified attorneys in Houston, you can be sure that we will work diligently to get you the positive results you deserve so you can get through this challenging time and focus on your other responsibilities. Call (713) 987-7111 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.