Many jobs involve driving, whether it’s in a commercial vehicle or automobile used for work purposes. If you’re involved in an accident in a work vehicle, you may have questions about how you will be compensated for your medical bills and time away from work. Car accidents in work vehicles can be complex, it's best to speak with an experienced car accident attorney who can advise you on options for your specific case.
What is a work vehicle?
In some jobs, drivers use what is commonly referred to as a ‘work vehicle.’ Often, this vehicle is only used during business hours when the employee is on the clock, such as a delivery driver for a large delivery and logistics company. There are also jobs that provide workers with what is commonly referred to as a company car, and workers use this car all the time, even when they are not working.
Liability for Car Accidents in Work Vehicles
Generally, if you were involved in a car accident in a company vehicle and you are a company employee, the accident would likely fall under the employer’s liability and be covered under their insurance policies. However, there are a few exceptions to this. If the driver was an employee and on personal business, the employer may not be liable. And, if the driver was acting in an illegal manner without the company’s knowledge, such as drinking and driving, the employer may not be liable.
What if the employer failed to keep the vehicle maintained or employed reckless drivers? In some cases, the company may be negligent about a vehicle and could be held liable. For instance, if the company failed to keep the vehicle maintained or falsified safety records, the employer could be held liable.
Workers Compensation for Car Accidents in Work Vehicles
If you were engaged in a work-related activity when you were injured, you may be covered by the workers’ compensation system. For instance, if you a delivery driver using a work vehicle or if you were driving a company car to a work-related meeting, you would be covered under workers' compensation.
However, if you do not have a work vehicle or company-assigned car, you are generally not covered unless you were engaged in work-related activity. That means you may be covered if you were going to a meeting, or running an errand for your boss. However, an accident during your commute to work or home is unlikely to be covered by the workers’ compensation system.
The following are some of the benefits injured workers can file claims for:
- Compensation for Medical Expenses: Covers medical treatment, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitative devices, and transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Permanent Disability: If your injury leaves you unable to ever return to work, you can file a claim for permanent disability.
- Temporary Disability: You can get two-thirds of the wages of your average weekly amount if your temporary disability claim is approved.
- Life Pension: If you are severely disabled with more than a 70% permanent disability rating, you can receive weekly life pension benefits.
- Death Benefits: If a workplace injury results in death, the surviving members of the worker’s family can file a claim for death benefits to cover various expenses.
Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in a work vehicle, you should speak with an attorney. While the process may seem straight-forward, it does not necessarily guarantee that you will be compensated fairly. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to assisting clients throughout New Jersey and New York with both car accident and workers’ compensation cases. We have years of experience and the extensive resources you need to secure a fair case result. Contact us today.