Car Accident On The Job: When And Who Is Liable?


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Getting into a car accident on the job can be a tricky situation depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, including whether or not you were driving your car or your employers. 

Liability for Accident While in Your Car

The law can be pretty complicated when it comes to determining liability when an employee gets into a wreck in his or her car while performing work for the employer.  If the other party is at fault, then their insurance company will pay for the damage to your car and your medical injuries if any.  However if you are negligent or at fault then the situation becomes more complicated.  Some personal car insurance policies will have a specific exclusion for accidents that occur while you’re working for another person or company.  Others will offer a rider that will allow coverage of these accidents, for an increased premium amount.   

Your first step if you are in an accident and at fault is to inform your insurance company.  They will determine whether or not the accident is covered.  If it is they will indemnify you for any losses suffered by the other driver.  If they decline coverage, you will be personally liable for the damage to your vehicles and the other’s drivers along with his or her medical damages.   There is a chance that an employee might be able to bring suit against their employer for any liability they are deemed responsible for.

Liability for Accident While in Employers Vehicle

An employee that gets involved in a car accident while in their employers car, and is at fault, will not be liable for the other party’s damages thanks to the doctrine of respondent superior or vicarious liability.  This means that employers will be liable for the negligent acts of their employees while the employees are on the job. The person inured in the accident would need to file a claim with the company’s car insurance company to get them to cover the responsibility for the monetary and medical losses suffered

Seeking Legal Help

Whether you are in your car or your employers, if you get into an accident while on the job, after contacting the insurance company, your very next step should be to contact an attorney.  Only a lawyer with experience with car accidents can provide you with the expert counsel you need to protect yourself and your assets.

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