Works Vehicle Accident Claim Bus Damage: Can an employer claim compensation from an employee in the civil courts for damage to a works vehicle – a company bus?
Works vehicle accident claim bus damage: I am not aware of anyone else who has been asked to pay for damage to a works vehicle in the company before and I do not believe there is anything in writing to this effect in my contract of employment.
A: It is quite unusual for an employer to attempt to claim the cost of damage to a works vehicle involved in an accident, but to decide if you are liable to pay compensation you should consider the following:
1. Look carefully at the wording of your contract of employment
You believe that your written contract of employment does refer to your employer’s ability to make a claim against an employee for damage to a works vehicle.
To be sure I recommend you have a look at your contract of employment. If you do not have a copy – ask for a copy.
You will need to read the contract carefully from cover to cover. There may be a section referring to what happens in the event of an accident or damage to a works vehicle.
There may be a section explaining your duties to your employer or covenants you make to your employer about taking proper care of the bus you are driving.
2. Find out on what grounds a claim is being made by your employer for damage to the bus you were driving
If your employer is making a claim in the civil court for monies for compensation for vehicle damage a formal letter known as a letter of claim must first be sent to you setting out the reasons that compensation is being claimed from you.
If no such letter has been sent I suggest you ask your employer the reason a claim is being made against you.
Click work injury claim to see how a compensation claim should be started and the contents of a letter of claim – this page describes a claim against your employer, but is equally applicable to a claim made by an employer against an employee.
3. Gross negligence or a deliberate act in causing the damage to your works vehicle
Your employer may be attempting to suggest that a claim is made against you as the damage was caused to the bus by an act of gross negligence or a deliberate act on your behalf.
An employee should not damage valuable works property deliberately or recklessly. If the bus damage was caused by a deliberate act or, for example, due to the driver having consumed too much alcohol it may be a reason to suggest an employee is responsible for the damage to the works vehicle.
4. Was the bus being driven during the course of your employment?
If you were driving the bus outside of work hours for personal reasons it is possible a claim could be made against you for damage to the works vehicle.
5. Expertise of an employment contract solicitor
The claim being made by your employer is not a personal injury claim, but a civil litigation claim based on contract and employment. I am not an employment contract solicitor, but I can pass your details to a UK specialist employment contract solicitor.
I would only suggest this course of action if a claim is actually being made against you by your employer, as the employment solicitor may charge you for defending a claim on your behalf.
Using the link below you can complete and send a confidential online form and I will have a specialist employment contract solicitor contact you.
Click employment contract solicitor to have a UK specialist employment lawyer contact you to discuss the claim against you for works vehicle bus damage
6. Household building and contents legal protection insurance cover – paying the cost of your UK solicitor in defending a claim for compensation
You may have building and contents insurance, which will pay the legal costs of defending a claim made by your employer.
You should check any insurance policies you have very carefully and if you have the benefit of this cover I suggest you contact your insurer who will assign a panel solicitor to help you defend your claim.
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