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Company time and car accidents

For many people, driving is part of their job, in some form or another. Whether a worker experiences a car accident in a company vehicle or in their own vehicle or some other vehicle, the employer often bears liability for the accident, as long as the victim meets the appropriate standards.

If you recently suffered an injury in a car accident and believe that it happened while you were on the job, your employer may have to cover your damages and make up for any losses associated with it. It is often difficult to pursue a fair outcome to this type of injury claim while also focusing on your physical recovery, but you may have more options than you realize. An experienced attorney can help you build a strong claim and ensure that you receive the treatment and compensation you deserve.

When is an employer liable?

If you can demonstrate that you were on company time when the accident occurred, then your employer may hold responsibility for the damages under the legal principle of vicarious liability. While not everything is held against an employer under vicarious liability, there is significant legal precedent to include car accidents.

An employer may hold liability under vicarious liability if an employee experiences a car accident:

  • While driving the vehicle for business purposes, or as a part of one's normal duties.
  • While performing duties included in the employee's job description
  • While running an errand for the employer or acting in a way that directly benefits the employer
  • While the employee is on a business trip

When is an employer possibly not liable?

There are a number of work-adjacent car accidents an employee may experience that do not qualify under vicarious liability. For instance, if an employee experiences a car accident while on his or her commute to or from work, this may not count as a work-related accident. Unless the employee performs some work-related act during the commute, then it likely will not qualify as work-related.

Similarly, if an employee uses a company vehicle for personal reasons and experiences a car accident in the company car, this may also not qualify as work-related. Even though the accident involves the company car, the personal nature of the reason for driving it may disqualify the accident as work-related under vicarious liability.

However you choose to resolve you car accident, be sure to understand all of the legal options you have to protect your rights and freedoms.

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