One thing that ranks higher than most on a good employer’s list of priorities is their employees’ safety. As a boss and a leader, you can take many measures and precautions to preserve the well-being of your people.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to assess the risk when the job description requires employees to travel between branches or use a company car because anything can happen on the road.
In these times, when your employees are exposed to danger, it is crucial that you react quickly to ensure their safety and preserve your business’s reputation. Because such a scenario can be disorienting, here are the steps you should take when your people are involved in a car accident.
Make Sure Your Employee Is Safe
What should be your top priority in the event of an accident is your employee’s medical condition. It must come above who was at fault, collecting evidence, or assessing damages. Once you’re informed of the accident, it is your responsibility to ensure that an ambulance is already at the scene or on the way. Keep in mind that a medical examination is needed regardless of the presence of any visible damages on the persons involved. Firstly, there could be internal bleeding or other invisible damages. Secondly, you would need the results for insurance claims and court cases. However, at certain times, it is harder to know where the accident took place, so a good idea would be to install GPS trackers in your company cars in case you need to send an ambulance.
Once you’ve ensured your personnel’s safety, you can get on with gathering evidence. You can either do this yourself or send a trusted staff-member to the accident’s location. In any case, you need to take pictures of the scene of the accident, the damage done to your property, and the license plates of all vehicles involved. However, looks can be deceiving and that is why you should also collect witness statements, even in cases of rear-end collisions where the rear driver is always considered at fault. An article from KerleySchaffer.com explains that there are exceptions to the rule, particularly in California where rear-end collisions are quite common. By collecting signed witness statements, you might discover that the front driver was the one at fault. Either way, for a lawyer to help you and your employee, you must collect plenty of evidence, including your employee’s statement and proof of injury.
Contact a Lawyer
Getting in touch with a seasoned car accident lawyer is the next critical step after you’ve gathered evidence. Using their council, you can begin talking to your insurance provider and also determine whether or not your employee was the one at fault.
If your employee was innocent, you could seek further compensation from the party at fault. If they were guilty, you could have your lawyer and your insurance company work out a settlement deal with the affected party while negotiating financial terms with your employee.
One thing to remember is that liability laws are quite specific when it comes to company property. One law called vicarious liability states that an employer is responsible for an employee’s actions and consequences. Meaning, you or your insurance company will be expected to cover the damages.
It is not the case, though, when an employee is in an accident with company property while running a personal errand on a business day or using the company car outside work hours. In cases where the company car is used for anything other than business, your employee might fall out of the company’s insurance coverage.
See to Your Employee
If your employee was wronged, it makes sense to use the policies you’ve already set in place when it comes to workers with disabilities or injuries. Will you allow them to work from home? Will they be getting worker’s compensation?
If your employee was violating company laws when the accident took place, are you going to fire them? These are only a few points that you need to cover with your personnel once they are in a state that permits them to tackle the subject.
As you deal with the repercussions of the incident, you will be tempted to project your anger at someone, but for the sake of everyone involved, you must try to keep your calm.
As a business owner, you must already know that anger does nothing but cloud one’s judgment.
Go through the procedures slowly and carefully, seek counsel from an expert, and you’ll be able to arrive at the best possible outcome.
Finally, if you were reading in preparation for this type of incident, the best thing you can do is review your insurance policy, company policy, and disability benefits, then make sure your employees are also well-informed.
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Chris has served as a business advisor to a big list of small and micro businesses; localized businesses and social enterprise in particular. Chris is also an avid reader and loves to stay updated about latest tech and innovation.