Legal Question in Insurance Law in California

Hello. I was recently working as a Production Assistant on a very low budget movie and while I was working I was told to drive one of the producers' truck to pick up various materials from a store.

While parking the truck I scraped the side of it against a pole in the parking garage. Two days later I was fired and it seemed the accident with the truck was the main reason for it. In the conversation in which I was fired, my boss on the film never said anything about me paying any of the cost of the repairs or mention anything about my auto insurance.

A day after being fired the producer whose truck I damaged emailed me saying that he and others (including my boss on the film) had decided that the work on the truck has to be filed through my insurance. Although he didn't say this in the email, I assume this will increase my insurance costs and probably be a black mark on my record.

Not to say that I didn't damage the producer's truck, I did, but... 1) this wasn't mentioned when I was actually fired and 2) I was only driving the producer's truck because I was told to do it as part of my job duties.

I suspect they may be sloppy with the legality of this because the movie is so low-budget and I've seen them trying to cut corners to save money on everything.

Do I have legal grounds to refuse to let them use my insurance if they demand it? Or are they legally in the right?

Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!

Asked on 8/14/10, 12:13 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

Unless the damage is less than $500, your insurance company is going to know about it anyway, since it has to be reported to the DMV. However, you are correct that they are not playing by the rules. Under the Labor Code employers must indemnify their employees from any claims arising out of the performance of their duties, unless there is willful misconduct. So if they submitted a claim to your insurance company, and your insurance company figured out it was work related, your insurance company will deny the claim. Up to you whether you inform them of that or if you give them your insurance information and let the insurance company set them straight, but the bottom line is while they can fire you for it, they can't charge you or your insurance company for the accident.

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Answered on 8/19/10, 2:01 am

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