Work-related accidents can happen in any profession, and often don't even occur in a traditional workplace. For many workers who drive a company vehicle or leave the workplace for business purposes, it is possible to experience a car accident that qualifies as work-related. If you believe you recently suffered a work-related car accident, you may have a number of legal options available.
When an employee experiences a car accident in the line of their work duties, the incident generally falls under the principle of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability means that an employer bears responsibility for the accident because the employee experienced it while ostensibly performing work duties or otherwise under the umbrella of employment. If an accident does qualify as work-related, even if the employee caused the accident with his or her own negligence, then the employee may have grounds to file a workers' compensation claim to cover the medical costs associated with the accident and other losses.
However, an employee who experiences a car accident may not always qualify under vicarious liability. If, for instance, an employee experiences an accident while commuting to or from work, this generally does not qualify unless the employee performs some act that benefits the employer during the commute, such as running an errand for the employer. Similarly, if an employee is driving a company vehicle and receives DUI charges, the employer is not likely to bear responsibility for the charges or an associated accident.
If you believe that you may have grounds to file a claim after a work-related car accident, be mindful to make sure that fully understand the issues at hand and how to address them. You may find that the guidance of an experienced attorney is useful to help you build a comprehensive claim and ensure that you don't miss important protections during your recovery.
Source: FindLaw, "Car Accidents in Company Vehicles," accessed Jan. 26, 2018