What should you do if you were in an auto accident while working?
If you were on the clock, if you were driving a company vehicle, or if the other driver was on the job when the accident happened, the ordinary rules of negligence may not apply, and you may have additional options.
Below, we will discuss how you can get compensation after an auto accident while working or while driving a company vehicle, including:
- When you can file a lawsuit for compensation,
- When you can file a workers’ compensation claim for compensation, and
- When the other driver’s employer may be liable for damages.
If You are in an Auto Accident While Working, Can You File a Lawsuit?
If you are involved in a collision while you are on the clock, and the crash is the other driver’s fault, the other driver is responsible for the damages caused by the accident.
If you file a lawsuit or file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, the rules of negligence will apply. They are liable for your damages when:
- They owed a duty to you and other motorists (for example, a duty to follow the traffic laws that are designed to keep motorists and pedestrians safe),
- They breached that duty (for example, by running a stop sign and colliding with your car), and
- You suffered damages because of their negligence (your vehicle was damaged, and you were injured in the crash caused by the other driver running the stop sign).
If you were on the job when the accident happened, however, you have a second option to recover damages – if the other driver is not liable for the accident or cannot cover your damages, workers’ compensation insurance should also cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages.
Can You File a Lawsuit and a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
You can file both, but you cannot recover damages twice for the same injury.
In most cases, when you have the option of a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or a workers’ comp claim against your employer’s insurance company, you are better off filing the lawsuit (or making the claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company).
In an auto accident claim, you can be fully compensated for your injuries. Workers’ compensation, however, is limited. For example, if you file a workers’ comp claim:
- You are only entitled to a portion of your average weekly wage for lost wages,
- You will not be compensated for damage to your vehicle, and
- You are entitled to your medical costs, but non-economic damages like pain and suffering or punitive damages are not available in a workers’ comp claim.
The bottom line is that, if you have the choice, you should file the auto accident claim with the other driver’s insurance company or, in appropriate cases, both an auto accident lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim.
What if You are in an Auto Accident While Working and It is Your Fault?
If the accident was your fault, you cannot file a lawsuit against the other driver.
But, if you were on the clock when the accident happened, you still have the option of filing a workers’ claim and getting some compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and any disability that results from the crash – something that ordinarily would not be available.
Unlike the rules of negligence that apply to auto accident lawsuits, workers’ comp is a no-fault system. In exchange for protection against lawsuits by employees, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that pays for on-the-job injuries regardless of who was at fault…
What if the Other Driver was in a Company Vehicle?
If you are in an auto accident with someone who was in a company vehicle or who was on the job when the collision happened, and if the accident was their fault, their employer may also be liable for damages.
Respondeat superior is a legal theory that makes employers liable for the actions of their employees when the employee’s actions are “within the scope of their employment.” For example, if someone who works for a pizza place is on their way home from buying groceries on their day off and crashes into your car, they might be liable for the accident but their employer is not.
On the other hand, if someone who works for a pizza place runs a red light on their way to deliver a pizza to a customer and crashes into your car, 1) they might be liable for the damages, and 2) their employer may be liable for the damages under the legal theory of respondeat superior.
Who is Liable if You are in an Auto Accident While Working?
Depending on who was at fault and whether either driver was on the clock at the time of the wreck, you may be able to collect compensation from:
- The other driver’s insurance company,
- Your own uninsured or underinsured insurance policies,
- Your own PIP/Medpay policy,
- Your employer’s automobile or general liability policy,
- The other driver’s employer,
- Third-party claims against other drivers who contributed to the wreck, or
- A workers’ compensation claim through your employer.
Auto Accident Lawyers in Conway, SC
If you are hurt in an auto accident caused by another driver in Conway or Myrtle Beach, SC, consult with an experienced trial lawyer immediately who can help you to gather the evidence you need to prove liability and damages, to settle your claim for full and fair compensation, and to try your case to a jury if the insurance company doesn’t pay.
Call Johnny Gardner Law now at 843-248-7135 or send us an email through our website to find out how we can help.