Work Vehicle Accident: Who is Responsible and Who Pays?
If you have been in a car accident while at work, then so long as you were acting within the scope of your employment, your employer should be responsible. However, if you were not at work, but were commuting, on your lunch break, or running a personal errand, then your employer may no longer be responsible. That being said, there are exceptions, and so it is a good idea to speak to a car accident lawyer who can help assess your situation.
Many car accidents occur in company cars, and when this does occur, legal liability issues can be complex. It can be a long road to determine who is responsible and who should pay for any damages.
At Chris Morrow, Law, PLLC, we are committed to serving car accident victims in Texas. If you have been in a work vehicle accident, do not hesitate to contact us today and find out how we can help.
Utilizing over 25 years of experience and a long list of successful cases to draw upon, we will investigate your claims and fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve.
We offer a free consultation and work on a no-win no-fee basis, which means that we only take a flat percentage of your settlement if your case if it is successful.
If you have been in an accident in a company-owned vehicle or in a personal vehicle while at work, then do not hesitate to contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, today and arrange a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. Call us now at 512-520-8100.
Texas Workplace Injury Laws
If your employer holds workers’ compensation insurance, then it will pay for injuries you sustain while on the job, regardless of how the accident happened. When a workplace chooses to have this insurance, it prevents lawsuits from being made against them.
However, if your employer does not have workers’ compensation, then they are a ‘non-subscriber’, and they may be sued by employees for injuries they sustain while on the job.
Workers Compensation VS. Liability Insurance?
Following a car accident with a company vehicle, there are different types of insurance coverage that may work to compensate you for your damages.
If your employer carries workers’ compensation, then this could compensate you for your medical bills and your lost wages while you are hearing. Even if you were driving a personal vehicle but were in the scope of your job, you may still be eligible to claim workers’ compensation.
On the other hand, liability insurance may pay for damages sustained by third parties, such as other people involved in the crash who do not work for the same company. Usually, the employers’ liability insurance pays injured victims damages so that you are not left personally responsible for them. Commercial vehicle policies tend to have much higher coverage limits than your own personal liability insurance.
What if I Was Driving a Personal Vehicle For Work?
Unfortunately, employer liability does not cover personal property damage, even if you were using it for work. Instead, you will need to seek compensation from your own car insurance coverage, or you will need to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance coverage.
If your employer does not provide adequate coverage, then your case will be particularly complex. Your own car insurance company might not cover you if you were driving your vehicle to work unless you have additional insurance coverage called a ‘rider’. While this will make your car insurance policy more expensive, your employer may be willing to cover it.
As with all car accident claims, there are exceptions, and you should still contact a car accident attorney who can help you to explore all your options.
What if I Was Driving a Work Vehicle?
In accordance with Texas law, an employer can be held liable for injuries resulting from a road traffic accident involving an on-duty employee.
However, there are exceptions, including:
- You committed a crime, including speeding, running a red light, or otherwise disobeying traffic laws.
- You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- You were an independent contractor using your own personal vehicle.
- You were running personal errands.
If any of the above apply to you, then your employer may not be liable, although if they have workers’ comp, then you should still be compensated as it is not affected by who is at fault.
When it comes to the damages to other victims involved in the crash, this should also be covered by your employer’s insurance on the vehicle.
Employers have varying degrees of coverage, and a car accident attorney can help you determine what your employer’s company policy covers and what that means for you.
What if I Was Not At-Fault For The Accident?
On the other hand, if you were not at fault for the accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party with the help of an attorney. Their insurance policy should pay for all of your damages.
You may be able to claim compensation both through the at-fault party and through workers’ compensation. However, workers comp may try to take some of the money you receive from the other driver as payback. An experienced lawyer can work to prevent this from happening.
Your employer may try to find a way to place liability on you even if you were not at fault for the accident, or they may try to claim that you were not acting within the scope of your employment. A car accident lawyer can help prevent this from happening by establishing the facts of your case and protecting your right to fair compensation.
What if I Was Hit by Someone Driving a Company Vehicle?
Whether you were hit by a taxi, bus, or truck, being involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle is traumatic. Their employer may be responsible for paying for your damages, including your medical bills, property damages, lost wages, and compensation for your emotional distress.
If someone hits you while driving their own personal car for work, then you will first need to seek compensation from their own personal car insurance. However, if they do not have enough coverage to compensate you, then you may need to turn to their employer for compensation.
You should not have to deal with the stress of recovering compensation alone. Instead, you should seek representation from a car accident attorney who can take over negotiations on your behalf and fight for your right to compensation.
When Is An Employer At Fault for A Company Car Accident?
There are also situations where the employer may be at fault for a company car accident. For example, perhaps they failed to provide adequate training or to maintain their vehicles.
In addition, truck drivers are under strict laws to work for limited hours to avoid fatigued driving. If an employer encourages their drivers to work for long hours, then they may be at fault for any damages that are sustained as a result.
In Texas, an employer may also be found to be at fault due to vicarious liability. Under vicarious liability, an employer could be found to be liable for their employee’s negligent actions during work hours.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer After a Work Vehicle Accident in Texas?
There is nothing to stop you from trying to pursue compensation without a car accident lawyer. However, accidents involving work vehicles are particularly complex, and many victims who do pursue compensation alone end up with less than what they deserve.
Regardless of where you are seeking compensation from, insurance companies are driven by profit and will try to devalue your claim by any means possible. A car accident attorney will help protect your rights by investigating your case and gathering evidence so that your claim is robust.
While some damages are easy to calculate, such as your past medical expenses, others, such as those related to future medical care and your emotional distress, are difficult to quantify and highly contentious. A work vehicle accident lawyer will help to maximize the compensation you receive by clearly establishing your damages and negotiating fiercely with insurance companies. They will also explore every avenue to compensation which may include several parties.
Work vehicle accident claims can take a long time to settle, and during this time, it is important that you can focus on your recovery. At Chris Morrow Law PLLC, we will take over the entire process and remove a lot of the stress. At the same time, we will keep you informed at every stage, and your personal injury attorney will be personally available by phone or email if you have questions.
Insurance defense lawyers know which attorneys are willing to take them to court and which are not, and this can have a big impact on how much they are willing to offer you in a settlement. At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we are experienced trial lawyers and will always be willing to take your case to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
What’s more, you will never be left out of pocket. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. That means we only get paid if your case is a success.
Work Vehicle Accident Who is Responsible and Who Pays – FAQ
No. If your car was damaged in a parking lot, even if it was a workplace car park, your employer is not liable. Instead, you must pursue compensation for the insurance of the person who hit your car.
Unfortunately, this counts as commute time and is not considered the scope of your employment, and usually, your employer will not be liable.
If your employer has workers’ compensation, it should cover your medical bills regardless of who was at fault. If your claim is denied or your employer does not have sufficient coverage for your damages, then you should speak to an attorney as quickly as possible.
If an employee was driving while under the influence and caused an accident, then their employer’s insurance must compensate the victims. However, they will usually not be liable for the drunk driver’s damages.
Chris Morrow Law, PLLC – The Attorney That Works
At Chris Morrow, Law, PLLC, we are committed to helping personal injury victims in Texas secure the compensation they deserve. Although work vehicle accidents can be complex, we have the skills, resources, and experience necessary to advocate fiercely on your behalf.
With a long history of successful cases under our belts and a personalized approach to the attorney-client relationship, when you have representation from us, you can rest easy knowing that someone is doing everything possible to fight for your rights.