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Driving a Company Car? Here's what you need to know

5 minute read

Motor vehicle accident

Driving a company car is often seen as a major work benefit for employees. For some it means you can save thousands of dollars a year on the expenses associated with owning a car.

But what happens if you are involved in a car accident while driving a company car, or have an accident while driving a personal vehicle for work in Australia?

Does it matter if the motor vehicle accident is within work hours or for private use? What are your rights and responsibilities as an employee driving company cars? Learn more here, on what you need to know.

What are an employee's responsibilities when driving company cars?

As an employee driving a company car, it is your responsibility to:

  • Carefully read your company's employee use of company vehicle policy

  • Know whether you have your employer's permission for the private use of a company vehicle or to use it outside of work hours

  • Check with your employer about the insurance cover on the car, who to contact if you have an accident and what documentation you would require

  • Keep the company car well maintained according to its servicing schedule or your company’s policy

  • Report any damage to the car, to your employer immediately

  • Follow road rules and be responsible behind the wheel

What are an employer’s responsibilities in making company cars available?

A company vehicle is classified as a workplace. This means:

  • The company car must adhere to all workplace health and safety requirements, including being well maintained

  • Your employer must minimise any health and safety risks associated with the company car

Employers are required to for all company cars:

  • Maintain up-to-date insurance, registration and service log-books

  • Provide clear policies and protocols for company car use and ensure that employees understand them (including when accidents, breakdowns, unforeseen events occur and whether the car is only for work-related use or can be privately used)

  • Maintain an up-to-date vehicle log to record who has each vehicle (if the company cars are rotated between employees)

  • Maintain an up-to-date record of employees' valid driver's licences

  • Provide emergency supplies and a first aid kit for breakdowns etc

What are my rights if I have a car accident in a company car?

If you’re an employee and have a car accident while driving a company car for work use:

  • Your employer may be responsible to pay for damage to the vehicle, because of their ‘vicarious liability’ (even if the accident was your fault) 

  • You may be able to make a workers’ compensation claim for injuries you sustained in the accident, if you were driving the car during your regular work hours or to and from work  

If you’re an employee and have a car accident while driving a company car for personal use: 

  • You may be eligible for compensation for any personal injuries you sustain in the accident, regardless of who is at fault 

This means you have the same rights as with any car accident and any subsequent compensation claim for injuries. You may be able to access compensation for: 

  • Hospital and medical expenses 

  • Rehabilitation expenses 

  • Loss of income or earnings 

  • Pain and suffering 

  • Loss of enjoyment of life 

If you're an independent contractor and have a car accident while driving a personal vehicle for work in Australia and you are at fault, you will be responsible for any damage caused as a result of the accident.

Claiming motor vehicle accidents in company cars

Car accident claims can be complex. If you've been in a car accident while driving a company car, we recommend seeking expert legal advice specific to your situation so you can understand what you are entitled to claim.

Contact Shine Lawyers – we know how to right a wrong

If you have been injured while driving a company car you may be entitled to workers' compensation or other compensation for your injuries.

Our team of motor vehicle accident lawyers are experts in all aspects of car accident injury claims, both physical and psychological. We can help you to understand your rights and access your full entitlements on a no win, no fee* basis.

To get started, get in touch with us here or speak to our specialised friendly client care team over the phone.

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How Shine can help

As one of Australia’s largest litigation law firms, we’ve been successfully standing up for the rights of everyday Australians for over 45 years. We believe everyone should have the right to access justice.

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