Legal responsibility depends strongly on how and why the employee is using the company car for work at the time of the accident. Companies are legally responsible if the employee is safely operating the company car for business purposes.
In Florida, there are instances where an employee is eligible for workers’ compensation even when the employee is at fault for the accident. Because of the multiple factors associated with car accidents as well as the different coverage rules and limits of insurance policies, we recommend that employees involved in an accident speak with a personal injury attorney.
At WorkInjuryRights.com, we offer free consultations and professional legal services to employees injured in work-related car accidents.
What Factors Make the Company Legally Responsible for a Car Accident at Work?
“Respondeat superior” is the legal doctrine that states that companies are legally responsible for the actions of their employees who are performing company-assigned duties. Respondeat superior includes warnings. To be legally covered by the company, the employee must be using the company car for business purposes such as sales calls or delivery of company inventory.
Also, the employee must be legally and responsibly operating the company car at the time of the accident. When the company is legally responsible, the company covers costs associated with property damage and personal injuries. The company also protects employees from “double-dippers,” injured parties who seek to sue both the company and the employee.
To receive the maximum amount of benefits, contact our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers.
What Factors Make an Employee Legally Responsible After a Car Accident at Work?
An employee committing criminal activity during the time of the accident is not eligible for legal protection from the company. For example:
- Disqualifying criminal activity includes using alcohol or drugs while driving.
- An employee using a company car for non-business activities at the time of the accident is not covered by the company.
It is worth noting that commuting between the employee’s home and workplace is often considered a non-business activity. Independent contractors using their own vehicles for business purposes such as ridesharing or food delivery are not legally protected by their employers. And many states have special exclusions for “frolics,” which are instances of employees misusing company cars during working hours.
However, if you are injured in a work-related car accident and are unsure if you qualify for workers’ compensation, do not hesitate to contact our Work Injury lawyers today at 954-833-5226!
Differentiating Between Workers’ Compensation and Liability Insurance
Workers’ compensation covers employees who are injured as a result of work-related activities, including auto accidents where the employee is legally and responsibly performing company duties. Workers’ compensation covers costs associated with medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and a fraction of wages lost due to medical recovery.
Liability insurance pays for the costs associated with damage to third parties. Companies often have two types of liability insurance:
- General liability insurance that covers most instances of work-related injuries and damage
- Commercial vehicle policies that focus specifically on incidents related to company vehicles.
When in Doubt About a Car Accident at Work, Schedule a Consultation with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Even the most basic incidents can be complicated by a combination of federal laws, state laws, company regulations, and unclear insurance policies. There are a significant number of employers and insurance companies that will attempt to use “legalese” to reduce or outright nullify their legal responsibilities. And even at-fault employees deserve representation in legal matters.
Employees who are involved in a car accident on the job should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in order to ensure compliance with applicable laws and to receive the maximum benefits to which they are entitled. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we only accept payment when we secure settlements or win court cases that result in monetary compensation.
Florida’s worker compensation program enforces strict liability, meaning that injured workers may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits even when the workers are at fault for the accident. Our company has over 45 years of experience. Many of our staff members have previous experience representing insurance companies, giving us valuable insights on commonly-used tactics and mindsets companies use to challenge their liability.