How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask F E Smith Your Own Question
F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 17181
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
18203470
Type Your Law Question Here...
F E Smith is online now

I wanted to check if the driver that works for us (he was

Customer Question

Hello, I wanted to check if the driver that works for us (he was involved in an accident and the van is now written off) would be liable to pay the difference (lease agreement and the value offered by insurance company)?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Contacted the driver but he is disputing the payment as he feels that Insurance company should be paying it.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: In his contract, it mentions the following: According to terms and conditions of your contract, signed by you on 23rd December 2019, please find below terms and conditions referring to you being liable for any damages on the van:· Term 2, bullet point 12: Ensure that the van is maintained as required by UK Law, the company will be responsible for serving the van, MOT and any related faults with refrigerated system – any wider issues like breakdown of gears, clutch or brake will have to be picked up through insurance although this will be agreed through mutual understanding with the owner. - This point implies that insurance company would pick up major faults with the van not accidents.· Term 3, accidents: “Food Transporter” will report all accidents/incidents and is required to record the circumstances with photos as required. “Food Transporter” may be liable for any damage to the van when driving. - This term implies that you may be liable for any damage to the van in the event of an accident. As you had an accident, due to blackout reported byyou, it remains your responsibility to pay the damages to the business/owners. Hence, according to the terms of contract stated and signed by you, £2008.47 remains payable by you.· Term 5, termination: On termination, the “Food Transporter” should return the van in the condition it was allocated at the start of the contract as the van remains the asset of the business. Any damages arising from any accidents may be deducted from the final salary if any. - The old van was never returned in the same condition as given, it was written off. The new van was returned by you however the dispute is related to old van CN68KWS.
Submitted: 5 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 5 days ago.

Welcome to Just Answer.

I will be happy to assist with your question today. I need some time to consider this and compose a response. There is NO need to wait online because you will get an email when I respond. Sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes longer.

I apologise for any unavoidable delay, but rest assured I have not forgotten your question.

can you give me more background to how he is employed and the lease agreement please?

also what happened re the accident

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
I have attached his contract and the letter sent by him. Van value (according to lease agreement) was £11593 however Insurance values at £9585 approx.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 5 days ago.

3 says that the person “may” be liable for any damage to the van when driving. It doesn’t say that you definitely are.

What they have cleverly done is said that any damage arising from accidents “may” be deducted from the final salary and that does give them the right to do so.

The gap between the write off value of the vehicle and the outstanding finance is extremely common and that’s why you can by “Gap Insurance”.

I’m sorry to say that if it wasn’t for the fact that this is the gap between the outstanding finance (your choice not the drivers) and the money received from the vehicle, then you would be entitled to deduct any shortfall.

However the finance was your choice, not the drivers and he shouldn’t be held liable for those costs. On top of that, you could have insured for that.

I’m sorry, I know it’s not the answer you wanted.

Do remember that I can only give you my opinion.

Please note that my answer is based strictly on the information that you have given me. If you have not given me all the information, then my answer may be incomplete or wrong.

Another lawyer may have a different opinion. Litigation needs at least 2 parties and neither goes to court expecting to lose.

Nonetheless, one of them does, even though they have been told by their respective legal advisers that they have a good chance of success.

If there was a black-and-white answer to every legal problem there would be no need for anything to ever proceed to court.

I am glad to help.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

I would be more than happy to clarify anything else for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please be aware that my answer is based strictly upon the information you have given me.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will be happy to reply because the thread does not close. In fact, it remains open indefinitely.

I am always happy to answer any further questions you have on any new thread in which case, please start your question with, “ For FES only”.

You don’t need to do it on this thread, just a new thread. You have me exclusively on this one.

Thank you.

Best wishes.

FES

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thanks. So, can I check for sure, as an employer (me), we cannot deduct the amount from his final salary because we could have taken out gap insurance? Considering we didn't, he can write the van off and still get away by paying nothing?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 5 days ago.

That’s right but not just because of what you say, it was your decision to take out finance, not his . He was insured to drive the vehicle and it isn’t his fault that there was finance on it.

Do remember that I can only give you my opinion.

Please note that my answer is based strictly on the information that you have given me. If you have not given me all the information, then my answer may be incomplete or wrong.

Another lawyer may have a different opinion. Litigation needs at least 2 parties and neither goes to court expecting to lose.

Nonetheless, one of them does, even though they have been told by their respective legal advisers that they have a good chance of success.

If there was a black-and-white answer to every legal problem there would be no need for anything to ever proceed to court.

You can all take him to court for the GBP2000 and see whether the judge has the same opinion as me. Ultimately that’s the only way of dealing with this if you want simply pay up. You don’t have to take my word for it.