Whether you get around-the-clock use of a company car as a perk of employment or you drive one solely during business hours, you’ve likely wondered what happens when you are involved in a crash. Do you pay the insurance deductible? Does your own insurance pay, or does the company have insurance on the car? It’s important to know the answers to these and other questions before a collision occurs.
Looking for more personalized assistance after getting hurt in a car accident? We are here to help. Call Thiry & Caddell at 251-478-8880 to schedule a consultation now.
Your Employer’s Insurance Coverage
Odds are good that your employer’s insurance will cover any damage caused to your company vehicle, as well as any damage caused to other people’s property as a result of your actions. Generally, your employer is responsible for what you do when you are operating within the normal scope of your work. This is known as vicarious liability. Even if the accident is your fault, the employer is usually liable because the accident occurred on their watch. In this scenario, you would not be stuck paying anything out of pocket.
Accidents That Happen in the Scope of Your Regular Work
Circumstances are a bit different if your accident occurs outside the normal scope of your work. Your employer may not process an accident through their insurance if it occurs while you are not working.
This extends to illegal activity. Imagine, for example, that you go to a networking event. This is part of your normal work, so transportation between the event and your office would likely be considered within your scope of work. However, at this particular event, you hit the bar and are the last to leave, stumbling out the door.
You cause a crash and are ticketed for driving under the influence. This is criminal activity, and it’s likely that your employer’s insurance policy would not cover it. You would be on the hook for any damage you caused.
If you are injured in a car accident while driving a work vehicle, you may worry about paying medical bills and replacing lost income. This is the exact need filled by the workers’ compensation program. As long as you were engaged in your work at the time of the accident, you should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. This is separate from any claims made against your company’s car insurance, as well as any claims made against the other driver.
When Someone Else is Liable for a Crash
Remember, you cannot sue your company or anyone who works for it, even if they did directly contribute to the accident that left you injured. However, you can file a personal injury claim against a third party.
This is an option to consider if the other driver involved in the crash caused it through their negligence. Perhaps they were texting while driving and missed a stop sign, causing them to strike you on the side. They may have been driving too fast for the conditions, or maybe they failed to yield the right of way.
With a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, and other related expenses. While you likely cannot seek compensation for property damage, as it’s not your car that was damaged, you can track your other expenses as you prepare to file a claim.
The main benefit of a personal injury claim is that it allows you to seek full compensation for your losses. You aren’t capped at a portion of your income, and you can receive money for your non-economic losses such as pain and suffering. However, with this type of claim, you do have to prove that the other party was negligent. Workers’ compensation, on the other hand, is a no-fault system, and there is no need to prove negligence to qualify for benefits.
Explore Your Compensation Options with Thiry & Caddell
Having the right legal team by your side is crucial, whether you’re seeking workers’ compensation or pursuing a personal injury claim. Find out how the team at Thiry & Caddell can put their experience to work for you. Call us at 251-478-8880 or get in touch to set up a consultation at our Mobile office.