Driver-Caused Accidents in the Philippines: The Liabilities of a Car Owner

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Every day, over 1,500 passenger cars traverse the Metro Manila roads. This figure, combined with frequent traffic congestion, makes car incidents comprise 52.48% of all vehicular incidents in the region, posing far-reaching consequences for everyone involved.

If you employ or let someone serve as your driver, dealing with accidents can be particularly daunting, especially if you have lingering questions such as “Is a car owner liable for an accident by his driver in the Philippines?” This concern emphasizes the importance of understanding the legal implications accompanying such incidents.

Is a Car Owner Liable for an Accident by His Driver in the Philippines?

Yes, as a car owner, you are liable for an accident caused by your driver. You’re primarily responsible for all damages affected parties and property suffer. You might undergo criminal proceedings in place of the erring driver when needed.

Two legal doctrines determine who is liable for what:

1. Vicarious liability rule

Article 2180 of the Civil Code of the Philippines states that employers are fully responsible for their employees’ actions. If your employed driver causes an accident, you must pay damages and may sustain relevant criminal charges.

2. Registered-owner rule

In the June 2015 case of Metro Manila Transit Corporation vs. Reynaldo Cuevas and Junnel Cuevas, the Supreme Court concluded that the vehicle’s registered owner is legally responsible for any accidents it causes, even if an employed driver is operating it.

However, it doesn’t mean the one behind the wheel bears no responsibility for an accident, such as when driving a vehicle while intoxicated and crashing into another. In this instance, you may be responsible for damages, but your driver is still liable under the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013.

5 Things to Do When Your Car Is Involved in an Accident Caused by Another Individual

Accidents can be stressful, especially if your vehicle is allegedly at fault. So, use the following practices as a guideline to start a solid case and protect your rights.

1. Report the accident to the authorities

Contact the nearest police station to create an official record immediately following the accident. If you can, obtain a copy of the report to help you deal with insurance claims and litigation. The report may contain essential details of what happened, including:

  • Exact location of the incident
  • Narrative of what happened
  • Information on the vehicles involved
  • Injuries sustained by those present at the accident

This information helps streamline investigations and achieve a prompt resolution. Finally, remember to cooperate with the authorities to avoid legal liabilities.

2. Notify your insurance provider

After completing the police report, contact your insurance company to initiate claims ASAP. Your insurer must assess the situation effectively and expedite payments.

Be ready to provide detailed information about the accident and the extent of damage to your vehicle, like photos of tire blowouts or whether the incident occurred during heavy rain

Next, follow the insurance company’s instructions on submitting supporting documents. Keep your correspondence records for future reference in case you must pursue legal action against your insurance company for refusing to pay your claims.

3. Document the accident site and exchange information with those involved

It should go without saying that gathering substantial evidence is crucial to establishing your case. For one, only an official legal investigation will determine which driver caused the accident. So, ensure you take photos of all vehicles involved, the accident location, and any visible injuries you or your companions sustained. This evidence can strengthen your case by proving your party is not at fault.

Additionally, consider exchanging information with the other party and any witnesses at the site. Be courteous—everyone is stressed out, but establishing contact lines with everyone can help coordinate the next steps.

4. Discuss the accident in detail with your driver

After addressing the accident’s direct aftermath, talk to your driver and get more information about what happened. This step lets you gather insight into that person’s perspective to help you determine the appropriate action as an employer moving forward.

Schedule a meeting with your driver, preferably once they’ve healed from their injuries. Encourage your driver to give a thorough account of what happened and listen attentively for a proper understanding of the situation. At the same time, try not to assign blame. Since the liability is still uncertain, it’s better to predict and prepare for what happens next.

5. Enlist the help of a legal professional

The preceding steps may be daunting. It can be challenging to go through insurance and legal proceedings knowing you could be liable for what happened despite not causing it. 

However, you don’t have to deal with it alone. Legal professionals who specialize in car accidents can guide you through the process.

So, research reputable law firms in your area and schedule a consultation. Some attorneys even offer free case evaluations to determine your best course of action from the get-go. Also, it’s best to bring your driver along when recalling the accident’s details. 

Protect Your Rights after a Car Accident

Practicing the steps above can help you face the aftermath of a vehicular accident confidently. However, each car accident case is unique; what applies to others may not apply to you.

Ultimately, you can prevent car accidents by reinforcing your vehicle’s safety with quality tires. Triangle Tires offers a range of tire products, from passenger cars to heavy equipment vehicles, giving you peace of mind on the road. All tires are available for delivery at an affordable price.

Browse our tire catalog or contact us to learn more!

Triangle Tires are designed to provide better handling and maximum fuel efficiency for your truck or passenger car.
Mikha Dela Cruz
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