How to Deal With A Car Accident While Working
You’ve been involved in a car accident while at work. What happens now? Are you in a difficult spot? Let’s examine some particulars of this situation.
Is My Employer Liable?
Your employer’s liability and responsibility depend on the instructions you were carrying out while on company time. For example, let’s say your supervisor instructed you to pick up a parts order at a local supplier. While en route to the parts supplier, you are involved in a car accident. When this accident occurred, you were taking action in the direction of your boss. Even if you are not driving a company car, and even if the accident is your fault, the company will most likely be at least partially liable. This is an example of “vicarious liability,” which applies when an employee acts on instructions from their employer.
Suppose you’re making a delivery, as instructed by your company, and another driver rear-ends you. You suffer injuries that require medical treatment, and as a result, you miss some work. Once again, since you were acting within the scope of your employment requirements, your employer can be held liable for damage to your vehicle, medical expenses, and loss of work revenue.
On the other hand, if you are on company time and go out to lunch at your favorite nearby restaurant, you are not carrying out the company’s instructions. If you get in a car accident, in this case, even if you are in a company car, the liability falls on the driver who is at fault. Your employer is not liable.
In the first situation, where you are acting on instructions from your employer, you can file a claim for workers’ comp. You may ask for reimbursement of medical costs, vehicle and property damage, and loss of revenue. As long as your actions at the time of the accident were within the employment scope, you are most likely covered. This does not apply to commuting to and from work. There is a provision in the law known as the “coming and going” rule, where you are not considered on company time until you arrive at the workplace.
There are some exceptions to the travel time coverage. For example, if you are required to travel for sales calls or regional meetings, you are most likely covered. If you are an on-call employee, you may be covered for accidents that happen on your commute. There are many intricacies of this law, which are best handled by a legal expert.
Do I Need An Accident Attorney?
Any time there is a legal claim regarding accident coverage, there are two sides to the argument. Both sides are looking for the best possible outcome and financial advantage. Be assured that the other side is well equipped with legal expertise. Some people feel like they can represent themselves well enough. After all, it seems like a straightforward case. But a few days of reading internet articles is no substitute for a law degree and several years’ experience litigating accident claims.
The legal complexities that govern accident liability allow for considerable interpretation of the circumstances, and the only way you will be assured of the outcome you deserve is by retaining professional legal counsel. Even if it’s the company you love and work for, the opposing side has a legal team that will look for all advantages and loopholes to minimize your compensation. It’s nothing personal. That’s what they do for a job.
If your company is providing you with legal counsel to contest an at-fault driver or defend your actions if it was your fault, that’s great. It’s the best possible situation. If they are not providing legal help, you need to retain some for yourself. It’s the way to get the best possible results.