Wrecking the company car
Written by: René Jakl
Photo by: Věroslav Sixt
Various types of legal responsibility can be involved if you have a traffic accident. If you’re on a business trip, however, a labor-law issue also comes into play; one concerning the relationship between employee and employer.
This issue is governed by the Labor Code, and it can be divided into: 1) the responsibility for damage caused by an employee’s accident, primarily damage to health (so-called work injury) and 2) responsibility for damage caused to the company car. The employer is responsible for damage caused by an employee’s accident, and it is paid for by his compulsory insurance. An employee who suffers a work injury can demand compensation for loss of earnings while (and even after) he is unable to work, for pain, for complications in his personal life, for expenditures associated with medical treatment, and for material damage.
If an employee dies in an accident, the employer is obligated to provide compensation for costs associated with medical treatment and burial, as well as costs of supporting the survivors, a lump sum for compensation, and payment for material damages. The employer can either partially or completely free himself of responsibility only if he can prove that the damage was caused by the employee’s breach of legal regulations, negligence, or that the damage occurred as the result of intoxication by alcohol or other controlled substances.
No work injury is involved if a company car is used by an employee without the employer’s consent; that is, without a work order. If an employee uses his own car for a business trip, the employer is responsible for bodily injury in the same way as when a company car is used. The same goes for the vehicle, unless the employee was using his own car without the employer’s consent. If the employee causes an accident, the damage to the company car is paid for from the employer’s collision insurance. If the employer has no collision insurance and an employee causes damage by violating legal regulations, the employer can demand compensation for damages in an amount up to 4.5 times the employee’s average monthly wage. If an employee is not at fault for an accident, the damage is paid for by the guilty party’s compulsory insurance. In the event that an accident is caused by the poor condition of the company car, the employer is responsible.
This article was prepared in cooperation with attorney Mgr. Liliana Vochalová