Car accident claims can be more complex if the crash occurred while you were traveling for work-related reasons. Determining if your employer is liable for an employee car accident depends on the purpose of the trip and whether or not the vehicle is a personal vehicle or a company vehicle.
These scenarios are used as examples. It can be hard to understand car accident liability and if your employer may be liable without a consultation with a lawyer. If you’ve been injured in a car accident for work-related reasons, it’s best to consult an experienced car accident attorney to discuss your specific case and options.
Is my Employer Liable if I’m Commuting to Work?
If you are commuting to and from work and get into a car accident, your employer is generally not liable. However, if the employee’s vehicle was necessary for their work, the commute or most driving might be considered as part of the employer’s responsibility. Take for example a salesperson whose job requires them to make visits to customer locations. If that salesperson was in a car accident, the employer may be liable for the employee car accident.
Keep in mind that laws vary from state to state. For example, New Jersey’s ‘coming and going’ rule dictates the circumstances in which an employer may be liable or a worker may be able to claim workers compensation benefits.
Who Is Liable In a Company Vehicle Accident?
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.
Employers may be scrutinized to determine if they were keeping the vehicles maintained properly and employing drivers with clean records. In some cases, the company may be negligent about a vehicle and could be sued to recover compensation for losses, such as medical expenses and lost income.
Is My Employer Liable if I’m Driving for Work Purposes?
As with company vehicles, a personal vehicle trip could be part of your job if your employer expected you to use your own personal vehicle for work. The key to proving this type of case is to determine if the employee was doing business with the approval and under the direction of the company. If your job description requires you to travel as part of your job and an accident occurs using your personal vehicle for that purpose, your employer may be liable for the employee car accident.
Can I Claim Workers Compensation Benefits?
If you were engaged in a work-related activity and injured in a car accident, you may be covered by the workers’ compensation system. For instance, if you are 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. It can be very tricky to ensure you are receiving the maximum amount of compensation between car accident policies and workers compensation. If you’ve been injured, it's your best interest to discuss your case with a skilled attorney.
Brandon J Broderick, Personal Injury Attorneys
The attorney team at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, specializes in personal injury, workers compensation and employment law. Our decades of experience, client focus and track record of results help injured victims recover compensation and get back to their lives.
If you’ve been injured in a work-related vehicle accident, contact us to discuss your options. One of our trusted team members will listen to your story, learn about your case, and can advise you on the next steps. Many of our clients feel a sense of relief once they make that first phone call.