What Happens When You Are Working and Are Involved in a Car Accident
What happens when you are working (or completing a work-related task) and are involved in a car accident? Car crashes are often complicated; work-related car crashes can be even trickier to navigate. What happens after the accident will ultimately depend on several different factors. Laws related to car accidents can also vary by state, so make sure to check with your local and state authorities first – and always consult with a car accident attorney when it comes to assessing your personal situation.
Employee v. Independent Contractor
Your role with the company makes a huge difference in what happens when you are working and involved in a car accident.
If you are an employee for the company, whether you personally are at fault can depend on the situation. For example, if you rear-ended a vehicle in front of you because you were texting on your phone and distracted, then the accident in the work-issued vehicle is your fault. However, if you rear-ended a vehicle in front of you because of a mechanical failure due to an inadequately maintained vehicle, then your employer may be liable. Employers are responsible for making sure that work-issued vehicles are safe to drive, but employees are responsible for their own driving.
By contrast, if you are an independent contractor (most commonly someone who may be working a gig-type job, such as a Lyft, DoorDash, or Uber/UberEats driver), then the employer is most likely not liable in any situation. There are exceptions to this rule, which is why it is important to consult with an attorney if you are an independent contractor and were recently involved in a car accident while on the job.
Whose Vehicle Is It?
Employers are responsible for ensuring that work-issued vehicles are safe for their employees to drive, but what about when you are completing work-related tasks in a personal vehicle?
If you cause a wreck in your personal vehicle but are working on completing a work-related task, even though you are still liable for the damages, your employer may also be liable. Work-related tasks can look like a variety of different actions, from taking deposit slips to the bank, to picking up lunch or coffee for an office event, or otherwise running errands for the business.
Generally, an employer’s liability will kick in above the employee’s personal insurance limit. What does that look like? Imagine an employee is driving their personal vehicle to the bank for a work-related errand, but crashes into another vehicle and badly injures the other driver. If the employee is uninsured or has very limited insurance coverage, then the other driver can sue the employer to cover the damages that the employee cannot afford to pay themselves.
What About Worker’s Compensation?
Generally, employees are eligible for worker’s compensation if they were injured while driving either work-issued vehicles or their personal vehicles for work-related purposes. If the employee was injured at the time of the accident, their personal insurance will pay for injuries up to a covered amount. Any damages exceeding the coverage amount (whether in the form of medical bills or lost wages) will be covered by worker’s compensation.
Contact an Attorney Today
After any car accident, no matter who is at fault, whether you were driving your personal vehicle or a work-issued vehicle, or the circumstances of the situation, you should speak to an attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of this situation. The attorneys at B|B Law Group have expertise in automobile accidents and will answer your questions. Contact the B|B Law Group to schedule a consultation today!
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