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John, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 4466
Experience:  Licensed and practicing attorney experienced in consumer protection law.
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I own a company. One of my employees totaled one of our

Customer Question

I own a company. One of my employees totaled one of our vehicles and was injured. This happened 5/9/16. I received a letter from his attorney on 5/12/16 expressing that we needed to retain the vehicle so that it would be available for inspection. This letter was forwarded to my insurance agent. In June, I was contacted by our insurance company and given a total loss report for said vehicle. The insurance company paid for the total loss and had the vehicle towed to salvage. It was my understanding that since they had the information they would be taking responsibility for the vehicle. I received a call today asking when inspection of said vehicle could be inspected. I informed them the insurance company has the vehicle. If the vehicle has in fact been salvaged could this pose a problem for us? The employee tested positive for drugs during his wcomp screening and thus was denied workcomp. He is suing because he is claiming the vehicle was not properly maintained and this is why he crashed.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  John replied 3 months ago.

It's common for attorney to demand preservation of evidence, in fact the opposing party has the duty to do the same when there is potential litigation; otherwise the court can issue n adverse ruling. It was the right thing to do to give it to the insurer since they are the primary party responsible for the damages in the event you are sued. The question of whether the insurer's destruction of the vehicle despite this notice poses a problem for you really depends on whether the plaintiff can overcome the fact that workers compensation is the exclusive remedy for all workplace injuries. He can't do that absent a showing that you were extremely reckless in the maintenance of that vehicle - i.e., you knew it would be a safety hazard and made him drive it anyway...of course there's a bit of a catch 22 here because an inspection of the vehicle may be necessary to prove or disprove such recklessness. But, it is really the insurer's problem and not yours because they'll be the one's on the hook for damages if the judge sanctions the defense for not preserving evidence.

Expert:  John replied 3 months ago.

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