Have you or an employee of yours been involved in a car accident with your company vehicle? If so, then you might not know what to do or where to turn for help.
The actions that you take next are crucial. Accidents involving a company-owned vehicle differ a bit from a regular car crash with your personal vehicle. It’s important to know what to do in an emergency and which next steps to take.
See below for a guide on the dos and don’ts of an accident and what happens when you get in a car accident with your company vehicle.
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Commercial Vehicle Accident Guidelines
Whenever you’re involved in a car accident in a company vehicle, it’s important to remain as calm as possible. The number one priority is always the safety and health of those involved; the vehicle comes second. It can be taken care of at a later date.
See below for a few guidelines you’ll want to use whenever the car crash initially happens.
Check for Injuries
First and foremost, whenever the crash occurs, be sure to assess your own situation. Are there any visible injuries that would inhibit you from leaving the car (such as a broken leg)? Expect to have several cuts; try to cover them up to stop the bleeding.
After you’ve taken care of yourself, you can check on your passengers and the other involved parties.
If everyone can walk, then be sure to get everyone to a safe location on the side of the road. Don’t try to move the vehicles. Keep them where they are until police arrive.
Next, call 911 and update them on the situation. The 911 operator will immediately dispatch police officers, but make sure to request medical assistance as well. Even if you feel fine at the moment, your pain might worsen once the adrenaline wears off.
While you wait for the police to arrive, be sure to gather contact information from the other drivers involved in the crash. That includes their name, number, street address, driver’s license, license plate, and car insurance information.
If you notice that one of the other parties is a bit too hysterical, wait for the police to arrive before exchanging information. Whatever you do, don’t let the party leave the scene.
Once the local authorities arrive, please answer all of their questions honestly but do not take responsibility for the accident. Simply tell them your side of the story with as little emotion attached as possible.
Report the Accident to Your Employer
As difficult a call as it might be to make, your employer must be made aware of the situation as quickly as possible. That way, they can contact their commercial auto insurance provider to discuss the next steps.
Please give them a brief description of what happened, where you are, how many drivers were involved, and so on.
Once the police report is finished, you and your company can receive a copy of it from the officer’s police department that filled it out.
Don’t ever assume the police report is enough evidence. A majority of the evidence you need is at the scene of the crash. Once you drive away from it, that evidence is really hard to get back.
Start by taking out your smartphone and getting as many photos as possible. Be sure to capture all the vehicles involved, the crash’s location, the people involved, their license plates, and what time it is.
Also, take some time at the scene to write as many details as you can into your phone’s notes app. That way, you can have a point of reference when you tell the company’s provider your side of the story.
Seek Medical Attention for Your Injuries
Many people think they’re doing their employers a favor by not seeking medical attention after a car accident in a company vehicle.
You should always seek out medical attention for the injuries that you suffer in a car crash, whether you were at fault for the incident or not. If you don’t, your injuries could worsen and become life-altering.
The other parties insurance company can also use it against you. If you wait to receive medical attention, they’ll argue that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim them to be. That could result in you missing out on the compensation that you need.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Even if you don’t require an immediate lift from an ambulance, make sure to go directly to a hospital after leaving the accident scene.
The Dos and Don’ts of Accidents Involving Company Vehicles
As you follow the commercial vehicle accident guidelines above, there are certain dos and don’ts that you need to be aware of. Even performing one of the “don’ts” can sabotage the entire process for you and your employer. Even if you’re not at fault.
Here are the do and don’ts when you’re in accidents involving a company-owned vehicle. Make sure to follow them to the best of your ability, and keep them in mind for the next time you’re involved in a crash.
- Collect as much info as possible, including:
- the license plate numbers of other vehicles
- each car’s year, make, and model
- photos of the car scene
- contact information of all parties involved and car insurance information
- Contact your employer as quickly as possible
- Get everyone involved in a safe location off the road
- Collect witness stories and contact information
- Receive a copy of the police report from the local police station
- Express frustration or elevate the stressfulness of the situation with other parties
- Admit to being responsible for the crash or blame others for it
- Try to move the vehicles from the scene (officers could perceive it as an attempt to flee the scene)
- Leave the car scene until the police officer at the scene gives you permission
- Wait to contact your employer and inform them of the crash
- Assume that anyone else has already called 911 (better to be safe than sorry
What Happens If You Get In an Accident In the Company Vehicle?
As much as you might try to avoid it, accidents happen. You may find yourself involved in a car accident, even when you practice safe driving measures.
Assuming your employer (or yourself, if you’re the company owner) has commercial auto insurance, the process should be relatively pain-free. Once you alert your employer of the crash, they can file a claim to get the process started.
From there on, the insurance provider will provide step by step instructions and help walk you through how to proceed. They’ll reach out to ask you questions about the process to better understand what caused the incident.
It’s important to be as honest as possible with the provider. Use your notes from the crash while you tell them what occurred.
Who Will Pay for an Accident in the Company Vehicle?
For many of you, this is the top concern. Will you really be forced to pay for all the damages that occurred when you got in an accident with the company vehicle? The simple answer is a resounding “no”.
Even if you’re at fault, your commercial auto insurance will be there to protect you and your employer in the time of need. This includes cover for the repair costs of your company vehicle, the vehicles of the other parties involved, and any medical expenses.
Once the commercial auto insurance provider has a firm idea of what occurred, they’ll reach out to the other parties to settle on compensation (if you’re at fault).
Handle Accidents Involving a Company Owned Vehicle the Right Way
Now that you’ve seen a strict set of guidelines and dos and don’ts to follow after an accident involving a company-owned vehicle be sure to follow them step for step.
Try to stay as calm as possible and keep your emotions in check. Gather as much evidence as you can on your own, and follow the instructions that the police officer gives you. Don’t accept the blame for the accident while at the initial scene.
If you’re a proud business owner, be sure to read this page to learn more about business insurance and the coverage that you need to keep your company protected.
For any other inquiries that you may have, be sure to reach out in order to get a quote for your needs. We will be happy to assist you in any way that we can!