Vehicular accidents can be a traumatic experience for anyone involved. It is difficult to navigate the legal processes involved in any type of car accident, especially if you don’t have an experienced car accident lawyer by your side.
There’s also the matter of getting compensated for the damages sustained to your vehicle as well as your health. However, all of these will become much more complicated if the vehicle accident is a work-related one.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, motorized vehicular accidents were the leading cause of work-related deaths in 2020. It was also reported that a total of 25,830 individuals were injured due to workplace vehicle accidents in that same year.
If you are one of the thousands of employees operating a vehicle for work-related purposes, then read on below to know what to do during such circumstances.
Who is liable during a work-related vehicle accident?
In general, if an employee ever gets into an accident using the company’s vehicle for work-related purposes, the employer or insurance company is liable for financial compensation.
Work-related vehicle accidents are included in the company or employer’s liability insurance coverage. This means that the insurance company will cover the damages to the vehicle as long as the employee involved is “on the clock” during the incident.
In cases wherein the employee is at-fault due to negligence or carelessness, liability still falls onto their employer under the vicarious liability rule or dangerous instrumentality doctrine. This means that the employer will be held responsible for monetary or physical damages to another vehicle, driver, or pedestrian.
However, all of these will only be applicable if:
- The employee was on the job during the accident.
- The employee is performing his/her duties under the scope of their employment.
- The employee is carrying out his/her duties that will benefit the employer when the accident happens.
If this is the case, then the employer or their insurance company will cover damages and injuries sustained by the employee and other parties involved. They may also compensate or cover other damages, such as medical bills, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.
When is an employee liable for work vehicle accidents?
An employee will be held responsible for both vehicle damage and personal injury after a road accident involving the company’s vehicle, but only during the following circumstances:
- The employee is partaking in illegal activity. For example, the employee got into an accident due to driving under the influence. Even if they are still technically “on the clock,” insurance companies won’t cover the damages during such circumstances.
- The employee is doing a personal errand. The insurance company or the employer will not cover accidents during an employee’s personal time or when they’re doing personal business.
When is a third-party liable for work-related vehicle accidents?
Neither the employer nor the employee are liable for accidents that occurred as the result of another driver’s negligence or carelessness. The third-party involved should be held accountable for covering the property damage and personal injury sustained due to the accident.
Additionally, the employee can also file a workers’ compensation claim to get compensated for other types of damages.
Can an employee file a workers’ compensation claim for a work-related vehicle accident?
When a person is involved in a vehicle accident while working, the applicable law can be very complicated. Regardless of when or how a car accident happens, the party responsible for the accident may be liable for any injuries that occur as a result of the accident.
The main legal issue that is raised when a person is injured in a vehicle accident on the job is that there may be multiple sources of recovery. One potential source of recovery is from workers’ compensation benefits; if you were acting within the scope of your employment, you might be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation.
For example, if you were delivering documents or picking up office supplies, these activities would be within the scope of your employment, and any injury you sustain would likely be covered under workers' compensation.
If, however, you stopped by to see a friend at work and were injured there, it would likely not be covered. In addition, if you are injured due to a problem with a company vehicle, you may have a claim against your employer for negligently maintaining the vehicle.
If you are at fault for an accident that occurs while you are working, your employer may be liable through the doctrine of respondeat superior, which makes employees liable for the tortious acts of their employees that occur within the scope of their employment.
If you are injured in a vehicle accident that was another person’s fault, you may have a negligence claim against the responsible party or parties for any injuries or property damage you may have sustained. Under Florida law, every motor vehicle operator is required to have the following minimum levels of insurance coverage:
$10,000 in Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP) – PIP insurance covers and medical expenses or loss of wages that you may incur in an accident, regardless of fault. If the accident was the other driver’s fault and your expenses exceed this amount, you may be able to make a claim on their insurance or sue them for negligence.
$10,000 in Property Damage Insurance (PDL) – PDL insurance covers any damage to property that a driver may cause when involved in a motor vehicle crash.
In addition to these types of insurance, some drivers may carry additional kinds of insurance, such as bodily injury liability insurance (BIL) or uninsured motorist insurance (UM).
BIL insurance covers any liability a driver may incur by causing injury or death to another person. If a driver carries this type of insurance, you may be able to make a claim against his or her policy if your medical expenses exceed your PIP coverage.
Frequently asked questions about work vehicle accident
Who is liable for a work-related vehicle accident if the employee used their own private vehicle?
Regardless of whether the employee is at fault or not, their employer will be held responsible for damages incurred in the accident. However, this is only applicable if the employee performs their duties during the said incident.
Are workers’ compensation benefits applicable to employees who use their own vehicles?
Yes, an employee can still file and collect workers’ compensation benefits even using their own vehicle during the accident. However, this is only applicable if a third party caused the accident.
Is the employer liable to pay for the employees’ personal injury and medical bills during a work-related accident?
Yes, the employer should be held accountable to pay for property damages and personal injury of the employee and other victims involved in the accident. But this is only applicable if the employee was on the clock when the accident happened. A different rule applies if the accident occurred due to the negligence of another individual.
Who is liable if an employee gets into an accident during their commute time?
Commute time is not considered an official work duty. That’s why an employer won’t be held responsible for accidents occurring during one’s commute to and from the workplace. This applies even if the employee uses the company vehicle during the incident.
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Uninsured motorist insurance covers a driver for injuries caused by and uninsured or under-insured motorists that similarly exceed your PIP coverage. In addition, if your medical bills reach another driver’s BIL policy limit, your UM insurance will cover the remainder to the maximum of your policy limit.
Because of the complex issues that can arise in an on-the-job car accident, it is important to consult with an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases. An attorney can advise you of your legal rights and can further assist in determining whether and against whom you may have legal claims.
Where to find a car accident lawyer with free consultation near me?
Involved in a vehicle accident while working? Schedule a Free Consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers in Plantation, FL.
We are a firm comprised of experienced accident attorneys, and take our clients' cases seriously. Our lawyers are known in the community to provide reliable, trustworthy answers, aggressive legal representation, and affordable legal services. You NEVER PAY unless YOU GET PAID.
Our practice is spearheaded by Atty. Rafael Gonzalez, who specializes in other practices areas, such as the following:
- Car Accident
- Personal Injury
- Motorcycle accidents
- Hit & Run Accidents
- Truck crashes
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Lyft Accident
- Uber Accident
- Leased Vehicle Accident
- Rental Car Accident
- Taxi Cab Accident
- Drunk-driving accidents
- School Bus Accident
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You NEVER PAY unless YOU GET PAID. If you require an experienced Broward County personal injury attorney then don’t hesitate to call us.
Understand your legal rights when you are involved in a car accident. Schedule a free case evaluation or contact us at 954-961-5100 for more information or to discuss your free consultation with a no win no fee policy who speaks both English and Spanish.
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