Car Accidents in Work Vehicles
Whether you were injured while driving on the job, or you were injured by a commercial vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits typically provide immediate benefits to drivers who are injured on the job, while motorists injured by commercial vehicles benefit from the doctrine of vicarious liability which holds employers responsible for the negligence of their employees.
Q. What is vicarious liability?
Vicarious liability implies that an employer can be held liable if an employee is involved in an accident while carrying out their job duties on the employer’s behalf. Thus, if an employee is working for an employer at the time of an accident, both the employee and the employer can typically be held responsible for a plaintiff’s damages.
When applied in the context of a commercial vehicle or truck accident, it means that if an employee driver is acting within the scope of their job at the time of an accident, their employer can be held responsible for any resulting damages. However, if an employee is running personal errands in a company car at the time of an accident, and not carrying out their job duties, their employer may not be vicariously liable.
Q. What if the accident was my fault?
If you were driving on the job and caused an accident which resulted in damages, then your employer may be vicariously liable for those damages. Damages can be both economic and noneconomic, depending on the circumstances. Usually, your employer’s insurance will provide you with a defense and indemnification in connection with any legal matter stemming from the accident. At the same time, even if the accident was your fault, you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for your own injuries sustained in the accident.
Q. If the accident was not my fault, can I sue?
If you were injured while driving on the job, and the accident was not your fault, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits covering medical treatment, temporary disability, and permanent disability. In addition, you may be able to separately pursue a claim against the negligent motorist who caused the accident for pain, suffering, disability, impairment, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Q. What if you drive your own car for work?
If you are authorized to use your own car or truck for work purposes, you may be covered under your employer’s workers’ compensation policy in the event of an accident. If you’re at fault, you may need to rely on your own insurance policy. You can obtain a “rider” provision which will provide additional coverage if you are using your personal vehicle for work purposes. This comes at some additional cost but does provide additional protection.
Car accident cases are often complex and involve multiple parties, in addition to insurance companies who will attempt to limit their financial exposure. In some cases, there can be a lot at stake. Having a trusted advocate on your side can make a difference. At The Reinartz Law Firm, we’re committed to serving our community with compassionate and aggressive representation. We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency basis, so we only get paid when you do.
Contact us today for a free consultation.