Damage to third party car while working.

14 posts in this topic

So today i have caused minor damage to a colleagues car while working a fork lift. Usually there would be no problem and insurance would cover the damage but i was asked to drive a forklift

even tho i have no license for one. I have of course informed my company on this fact and they said it was no problem and since we are short handed someone needs to fill in. I was hesitant but i agreed (i understand that i should have said no).

But my problem now is they are talking about me covering the damage for the accident that happened on the company grounds, with the company equipment, after i was asked to do the job and they being informed several times i had no license. 

Who is responsible for covering the damage and do i have any legal recourse to refuse to pay?

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I am not a lawyer so I can not tell you who is liable to pay. However I can tell you that you shouldn't drive anything you don't have a license for just because they ask. It's not even enough to have a forklift license, you also need the company to issue you a Fahrauftrag which is basically something saying that you are assigned to drive a forklift at this company. Without these two things I don't think the insurance of the employer would cover you.

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2 hours ago, Anto P said:

i was asked to do the job and they being informed several times i had no license.

 

Looks to me like they were at fault.

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59 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

 

Looks to me like they were at fault.

 

Well if you equate this to a car... Your employer asks you multiple times to drive the company car and you tell them you don't have a license. Eventually you drive it, even if it's just in the parking lot and you cause an accident, isn't it your fault for driving without a license? Could you expect the employers insurance to cover you?

 

Another question is whether the employer will admit to having pestered him to drive the forklift. If there is nothing in writing and no witnesses willing to go against the employer it's very easy for him to say that he did not ask OP to drive the forklift.

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We could turn this the other way round...

 

Everyone pesters the guy to drive the group home after a night in the pub.. Everyone was drunk...

 

The guy says" but I am drunk"... Several times, ... But then he gets in the car and drives drunk.. Police bust him...

 

Who is at fault?

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In normal circumstances then I would say that you were asked by the company to drive a company vehicle, on company property, during company time, for company purposes.

There is no doubt that the company is responsible for insurance and any damage caused.

 

The problem of course is that you didn't have a licence.

 

However, you were open and honest about this before you drove.  The company accepted this but were desperate, so you agreed to help them out quickly this one time.  Therefore, I would still say that the company are responsible.  They allowed you and even requested that you operate company machinery even thought you told them that you did not have the skills or licence to do this, but they insisted anyway.

 

I know in the UK it is the employer's responsibility to ensure that their staff have the right training, skills, and licence to operate machinery.   If there is an incident then both the employer and the employee would both be fined.

 

 

I would say hold your ground.  State these facts to them clear and simple.  If then don't accept this then you will have to go to a lawyer.  In the end, I'm sure that company will not push this any further because they would be worried that they will get into trouble.  So actually it is better that they just shut up, pay up, and make sure it does not happen again!

 

Also, make sure that your works council / union and HR are aware of the situation.

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Reminds me of when I was working as a truck driver during semester holidays and refused to overload "my" truck by almost 50%. Next day I was fired.

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Here's the rules on driving a forklift truck.


 

Quote

 

Darf man ausnahmsweise ohne Staplerschein fahren?

Grundsätzlich dürfen nur qualifizierte und beauftragte Personen einen Stapler oder ein anderes Flurförderzeug bedienen. Wer ohne Staplerschein und Fahrauftrag ein solches Gerät führt, ist nicht durch die gesetzliche Unfallversicherung abgesichert und riskiert im Falle eines Unfalls mit Sach- oder Personenschaden, diese Kosten aus eigener Tasche tragen zu müssen. Zudem drohen arbeitsrechtliche Konsequenzen wie Abmahnung oder Kündigung.

 

 

English

Quote

 

Is it possible to drive without a forklift license?

Basically only qualified and authorized persons are allowed to operate a forklift truck or another truck. Anyone who does not carry such a device without a forklift license and driving order is not covered by the statutory accident insurance and, in the event of an accident involving material damage or personal injury, risks having to bear these costs out of his own pocket. In addition, labor law consequences such as warnings or dismissal threaten.

 

 

I'm no lawyer but the way I see it is that both parties are at fault.

 

1) The op drove knowing he had no valid licence.

2) The company authorised him to drive the Forklift with prior knowledge that he had no valid licence.

 

I think this is going to be very difficult, I doubt the op has Rechtsschutzversicherung so 

if he doesn't want to incur additional costs for a Lawyer then he's basically up shits creek. 

 

Personally, if this is the type of game the company plays then I would look for another job while still employed.

It would worry me that as and when the invoice is received for the repairs they will deduct the full amount from his wages.

 

@Anto P Do you have any idea how much damage was caused, or what the damage was? 

 

Whatever you do, if your German is not that good do not sign anything without getting it translated.

 

Edit: How many employees does this company have? or simply put is this a large national or small business.

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I agree that both parties are at fault.  But in terms of repairs the company should be liable, as they are more responsible in my eyes.

They employ the driver and assigned his tasks.

They did not ensure that the driver was licenced.  

They did not ensure that the area was safe to work and free of obstacles 

Company property was used, it was on company time on company premises(?).

 

IMHO Company should pay for damage.

 

If the authorities get involved then they would fine both parties.  

 

if the driver was licenced, they company insurance would pay.  So there is no difference here, except I assume that the insurance company will not pay as the company used an unlicensed driver and hence they are trying to put the cost onto somebody else.

 

I agree to find a new job.  And start looking for a lawyer now, just in case you need them.

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@dj_jay_smith

I don't agree or disagree with you but let's not forget, this is Germany not the UK. 

 

You and I both know that had a situation like this happened in the UK it would never of been an issue, they are far more lenient and forgiving. 

 

It's what I call 'anal German bureaucracy', they will accept breaking the rules but will never accept responsibility and just pass the buck, especially if it's written in Black & White like I posted above.

 

To put it into perspective, 'the German's have no Balls' something I've experienced on more than one occasion.

 

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Sir Percy B said:

@dj_jay_smith

I don't agree or disagree with you but let's not forget, this is Germany not the UK. 

 

You and I both know that had a situation like this happened in the UK it would never of been an issue, they are far more lenient and forgiving. 

 

It's what I call 'anal German bureaucracy', they will accept breaking the rules but will never accept responsibility and just pass the buck, especially if it's written in Black & White like I posted above.

 

To put it into perspective, 'the German's have no Balls' something I've experienced on more than one occasion.

 

 

 

 

 

In the end it probably depends on the company.  But given that they are already trying to get the employee to pay for the damage, then it doesn't look good.

 

But I would dig my heals in and simply say no.  If they then deducted money from my salary I would sue the company and let everything come out in court.

 

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Which is the biggest cost? Car repair or a huge fine for a company by telling unlicensed operators to use a forklift?

This is your pitch.

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Moral of the story, if you are in this situation get the employer to sign off on their dodgy plan in writing. Then you are in the clear. You may also have avoided the situation in the first place and/ or been fired. Which considering the lax attitude of this employer would probably been a good thing and you could sue the company for that as well...

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