Running a personal errand using a company car can be tricky when it comes to insurance. A sad case decided this week by the California Court of Appeal, Medina v. Geico, illustrates why.
Leigh Anne Flores worked for a telephone company for nearly 20 years. She was supplied a company vehicle as part of her duties to drive to the company’s different offices throughout California.
In August 2009, while she was on the clock, Ms. Flores got a call from her daughter, saying she wanted to have lunch. Ms. Flores took the company car and met her daughter for lunch, where she had a few glasses of wine.
After lunch, while driving back to work, Ms. Flores hit another vehicle. She was driving while intoxicated. She subsequently lost her job.
The man who’s car she hit, Javier Medina, was seriously injured in the crash. He sued the telephone company, arguing that Ms. Flores was in the course of scope of her duties when she caused the collision.
The telephone company defended, saying that Ms. Flores was running a personal errand on the date of the crash. The company ultimately only paid the California minimum of $15,000.00, the limits any registered car owner would owe in this scenario.
Mr. Median next tried tapping into Ms. Flores personal automobile insurance policy. That’s where things got tricky.
Ms. Flores’ personal policy, issued by Geico, had an important exclusion. Any vehicle which an insured (Ms. Flores) drives regularly and which is furnished for regular use is an excluded vehicle under the Geico policy.
Since the telephone company was the one who supplied Ms. Flores the car, which she drove regularly for work, her Geico policy would not afford coverage for the collision that happened with the company vehicle.
Pretty significant, since Mr. Medina obtained an arbitration judgment against Ms. Flores for $500,000.00!
That’s $500,000 Mr. Medina will probably never see.
For questions about your automobile insurance policy or Los Angeles accident, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist, 24/6!