City worker hits car with van - who should pay?


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“That’s just a hypothetical problem that could never occur in real-life!”

They city would pay damages if she hit somebody else’s car.

But she hit her own car. Hunh.

If some other city worker had hit her car, they would pay damages. ?

If a city worker driving a verhicle hits a vehicle owned by another city worker it could 1) a complete accident 2) a scam.

Many years ago I dinged another vehicle while employed by my city and driving a city-owned vehicle. Luckily, the vehicle I dinged was also owned by the city so this question never came up.


The poor?


The insurance company?


Mind you, most cities are self-insured for this sort of thing. Interesting that when groups have enough money to be self-insured, they almost always choose to be.

While this is a funny story, I really don’t see what possible conundrum it could create. How does it matter whose car it is? I see things like this posted as ethical quandaries and I start to think that maybe there isn’t much hope for humanity.

The appropriate quotes from the article:

Meyer said the incident will be reviewed by the city's accident review board, as is customary for any accident involving city employees driving city vehicles.

“The outcome of that will determine next steps with the employee … and help inform the claim proceedings,” he said.

Reviews can lead to disciplinary measures ranging from restricted driving privileges to employee termination.

And in the thanks-for-mentioning-it area:
Campbell, a 2014 college grad, has worked for the Parks and Recreation Department since May.

Well, it raises the possibility that the person has committed some action intentionally for their own gain.

Say, Bob is behind on his car payment, so, he takes his city issued vehicle and slams into his personal vehicle, Bam (literally), problem solved. Well, possibly anyway.

That may be a poor/flawed example (I’ve not spent much thought on methods of fraudulent damage for personal gain) The point is, there’s an opportunity for fraud that simply doesn’t exist when the person actually operating the city vehicle is unconnected to the owner of the damaged vehicle.


Not really. Insurance costs are always amortized risk + overhead + profit, if any. But for small players downside risk (huge medical bills, getting sued for large dollar values) is greater than its dollar value would suggest, because you may literally never, in your lifetime, be able to recover from it. Insurance also comes with having a big insurance company to (hopefully) stand by your side and fight (legally, or in negotiated prices with doctors and hospitals) on your behalf using greater resources than you personally could muster.

Already-large organizations don’t get those advantages, so they self-insure to reduce the overhead and avoid feeding someone else’s profit.

Utility is not linear in dollars, nor constant over time.

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I worked for a company that self insured its facilities. So when some little scrotes burned the canteen down, they couldn’t afford / justify spending the money rebuild it.

Net result : staff canteen was a portakabin for years.

The city should pay.

And then the driver should be fired.


the insurance company for sure

Unless the City or insurer can prove the fraud, it should be assumed an accident.

Either way, unless there is a compelling reason otherwise, the driver should be fired.

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City officials say they have not yet reviewed the details of her claim, but a number of initial
concerns stand out. The supply van had been rented from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and neither Campbell nor the rental agency reported damage to the van after the Aug. 4 crash

Doesn’t sound like she hit her car with the van at all to me.

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The question isn’t worth reviewing. Insurance is carried on the vehicle (unless it’s a no-fault State) and liability is implied to the responsible vehicle as long as the driver is an ‘insured’ under the policy. The driver was an employee, presumably on company time and hit another object. That object (her own vehicle) is covered for property damage under the city owned vehicle’s policy or the city if they were stupid enough to ‘self insure’.

If it is a no-fault State, then the damage to each vehicle is assumed by each vehicle’s insurer or owner.

“What is no-fault auto insurance and which states have it?”

So… all employees at fault in an accident–even a fender bender-- should be summarily fired? Even for a first time offense? Or is the fact that it’s her car the issue that makes you say this, even if there’s no indication of an intent to defraud?


Eh, very possibly. The point was just that it’s a potential concern in that circumstance that doesn’t really exist as a reasonable possibility in most instances of a city insurance claim/accident/whatever.

As far as firing, that should probably be based entirely on how negligent the person is, their overall record, etc. In theory, hopefully evaluated entirely unrelated to just who they hit, though it might be hard to separate that out in practice. After all, anybody can have a legitimate accident, or one excusable slip.

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We also need to revoke her drivers license.


Accidents occur. The compelling reasons to not fire an employee over inadvertent property damage incident are many.

It is also probably cheaper to just pay out unless she hit her new mercedes or a classic car or a super car than it is to fire someone.

It isn’t even so unlikely. If she was transferring from her personal car to her work van at a city facility that afforded parking near the facility, her car would be the most likely to be damaged if a mistake were made.

Srsly, a bit of property damage, no injuries, as long as it is determined fraud is unlikely, it isn’t a firing offence unless she has a history of errors or negligence behind the wheel of city vehicles.


And don’t forget the public whipping!