Driving A Company Car - What You Need To Know

Company cars can provide a benefit for both the employer and the employee. While the employer can roll the use of the car into the employee’s overall salary package, the employee can reap the benefit of using the car without spending money on their own vehicle.

As with any workplace arrangement, there will be conditions attached. So, what do you need to know about driving a company car?

Company cars and personal use

Each workplace will have its own rules relating to the personal use of company cars. The safest thing to do is check the relevant policy and/or double-check with human resources or the relevant department about personal use to ensure you do not find yourself in breach of the policy.

Responsibilities of employees driving company cars

Employees who drive company cars should be careful to read their workplace company car policy thoroughly so that they have a complete understanding of their employer’s expectations as to the use of the vehicle and the responsibilities they must bear as part of the benefit.

The car should be maintained to a high standard, serviced in line with the recommended servicing schedule and kept clean. If the car is damaged the incident should be reported to the employer immediately.

It goes without saying that employees must observe all relevant road rules when they are driving the company car.

Responsibilities of employers offering company cars

Employers must also bear certain responsibilities when offering company cars to their workers. A company car is classified as a workplace, so it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure it meets all workplace health and safety requirements and that health and safety risks are minimised. To this end, an employer should:

  • provide current insurance, registration, emergency supplies for breakdowns and service logbooks;
  • ensure the car is maintained regularly (even if it is the employee’s responsibility to book the service);
  • make a company car policy readily available to employees and ensure it is well understood; and
  • keep a register which tracks each vehicle and the employee driving it, as well as a copy of valid driver’s licences.

Car accidents in the company car

If an employee is involved in a car accident whilst behind the wheel of a company car the employer may be responsible for paying for any damage caused, because the employer is responsible for the employee driving the company vehicle. This is known as ‘vicarious liability’.

Employees who sustain injuries as the result of a car accident in a company car may be entitled to workers’ compensation if the accident happened during regular working hours or on the way to and from work. If the accident occurred while the car was being driven for personal use, you may be eligible for compensation as with any other motor vehicle accident.

Regardless of whether the accident was the fault of the employee, they may be eligible for compensation for:

  • medical expenses and rehabilitation expenses;
  • loss of income and/or future earnings; and
  • pain and suffering and a loss of quality of life.

Before an employee starts driving a company car they should check with their employer about the type of insurance coverage the car has, who they should contact if an accident occurs and what documentation they need to provide.

If you drive a company car and have been involved in, and/or injured in, a car accident you may need to seek legal assistance to make a claim for workers’ compensation or personal injury. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you submit a claim and manage the next steps.

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