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Employment Law/personal vehicle damaged at work


My son was driving my truck to and from work. He is insured on the truck. He was working for a manufacturing company as a welder...which never required him to use a personal is a factory. One night...while on the clock, his supervisor asked him to use his truck to pull 2 forklifts out of the mud beside the building. My son agreed. After unsticking the forklifts...when my son tried to back out of the small area....he backed into a dumpster and damaged the truck. His supervisor said that they would take care of his damages, then fired him a few days later. When I called the company about the damages...the supervisor had not even reported to his superiors, that there had been an accident, yet again, I was told that they would take care of it. When I took them 3 estimates...they had changed their minds and decided not to take responsibility. Is this company liable for the damages to my truck?


Unfortunately, Tennessee has no general statute or common law requirement that employers cover expenses incurred by employees in the course of their employment.  The only exception is if the employer directly causes the loss, which does not seem to be the case here.

In theory, you might still be able to assert a claim against the employer based on oral contract because the supervisor first promised to cover the damage, then reneged on the promise, and that type of claim may be best pursued in Small Claims Court.  I've pasted a link to a website maintained by the State of Tennessee where you can be directed to more information about how to pursue a small claims action.  You will need to contact the court clerk in your home county, and this site has a link to a list of the county court clerks in the state.

I hope you find this helpful.

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Frank C. Magill


I can answer questions about any U.S. labor or employment law question. I cannot answer questions about non-US law. I am not a specialist in employee benefit law (ERISA and HIPAA) or Workers' Compensation law, but will do my best to point questioners toward good resources availabe online. Expertise includes, without limitation, EEO/Affirmative Action/Employment discrimination (Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, GINA, Fair Credit Reporting Act as applied to employment); Fair Labor Standards Act; Texas labor code; Family Medical Leave Act; employee compensation; discipline and dismissal; force reductions, severance pay programs and administration; collective bargaining, union representation, grievances and arbitration, National Labor Relations Act and National Labor Relations Board; employee handbooks; staffing; dispute resolution outside of traditional labor agreements; employee communications; employment policies and compliance programs; codes of ethics; employment or labor litigation.


30+ years experience as corporate counsel for a Fortune 100 telecom company, specializing in labor and employment law issues. In addition to providing day-to-day advice to my company's internal HR leadership and staff, I've represented the company in numerous labor arbitration cases and at the bargaining table.

Texas, Illinois and Missouri state bars

J.D. 1979, Harvard Law School. B.A., Summa Cum Laude, 1976, Illinois Wesleyan University.

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