Accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. Even when you do everything right, something can still go wrong. They can happen any time to anyone at any place. It should come as no surprise, then, that some statistics estimate that 5 percent of the U.S. workforce experienced work-related injuries each year. Many of these injuries are due to issues with transportation. As a matter of fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 40 percent of all work-related accidents in 2017 alone were related to transportation.
Furthermore, approximately 4.5 percent of these accidents were fatal. Certain industries are more at risk of these accidents than others. If you work in the trucking, farming, or construction industry, you have a high percentage chance of being involved in a work-related car accident. The same also applies for police, firefighters, EMTs, and taxi drivers.
Dealing with an auto accident is always overwhelming. It can be even more stressful when it occurs as a part of your work day. You may not know how to even begin handling the situation. Is it a personal injury case or a worker’s compensation claim? How will you determine fault? In this blog post, we will give you a brief overview of these questions and more.
If you are ever involved in a work-related car accident, one of the first things you will want to take care of is determining who was at fault. This is incredibly important for many reasons—one of which being that the party deemed liable for the accident will also be the party deemed financially responsible for the accident.
Colorado is considered an “at-fault” state. In layman’s terms, this means that the laws for work-related car accidents require all involved parties to determine fault first, before they can begin to know which insurance policies may apply and be responsible for any compensation. In most cases, proving fault will require proof that an individual has acted negligently. In other words, there must be proof that the at-fault individual directly caused the accident through their wrongful actions.
This may go one step further if you end up sustaining personal injuries from your work-related auto accident. Depending on the situation, you may be entitled to file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver. In any case, your employer’s worker’s compensation should also cover your medical bills and at least part of your lost income. However, if you are determined to be at fault for the accident, then it is possible that other involved parties will file a claim against either you or your employer. Whether or not this applies to your specific case will always depend on at least a few different factors—such as company policies, damages, and state laws.
If your work-related automobile accident was caused by someone else, your employer will probably end up filing a claim with the liable party’s insurance provider. This will begin the process of collecting any compensation they are entitled to for any damage done to the company vehicle. If you were not acting negligently and were adhering to all road rules and regulations at the time of the accident, it is likely that you will not be held liable for any damages to the other party. However, it is important to remember that company policies will still apply—meaning that your employer may not be liable if you were acting in violation of any relevant employee standards. It can be difficult and confusing to navigate all this on your own. A seasoned legal professional can help.
If your work-related car accident happened while you were driving a company car, you may be wondering whether or not the vehicle is covered under an insurance policy under the company’s name. This is generally the case—which might be good news for you, considering that this makes the company liable for any harm caused by one of their vehicles. This also means that any victim of your work-related auto accident is entitled to take legal action against your company for any injuries suffered.
It is important to note, however, that company car insurance will generally work the same way as your own private car insurance. This means that determining liability is their primary goal. You may even be determined liable for the damages if the insurance company decides that you were acting recklessly.
You may be wondering whether or not your work-related car accident makes you eligible for worker’s compensation. After all, this would only be a natural question. The answer? It all depends on the specifics of your case. As a general rule of thumb, if you are not determined at fault for the accident and the accident occurred while you were carrying out work duties, it is likely that you will receive worker’s compensation benefits.
On the flip side, if you are determined to be at fault for your work-related auto accident and/or personally liable for damages, you will probably not be covered by worker’s compensation. In fact, you may actually have to pay for the damages on your own or have the option of seeking out damages from the at-fault party.
Serious accidents can have serious consequences. Being determined at fault for your work-related automobile accident may result in you losing your license, losing your job, or even facing multiple lawsuits. This is especially true if your accident was caused as a result of you violating company policy or your company car contract. In cases like these, it is absolutely vital for you to have the right legal representation on your side.
If you or a loved one have recently been injured in a workplace accident, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. You should never have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide worker’s compensation attorneys. We have helped countless clients resolve their cases successfully. We can help you, too. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you rightfully deserve.