For many of us, work is not only performed in an office or other worksite. Many occupations require employees to drive as part of their work duties. So what happens when a worker gets injured in an accident while on the road? If you were recently involved in a motor vehicle accident while performing your work duties, you might be wondering what to expect next and if workers’ compensation benefits will cover it.
Continue reading below to learn more about what you can expect if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident while performing your job duties.
When Your Employer is Liable
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident while you are performing your job duties, your employer can be held liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability. In other words, your employer can be held liable if:
- Your actions were conducted within the scope of your job
- The accident occurred while you were working
- You were performing the task you were hired to do
- Your employer benefits from the task you were performing at the time of the accident
Basically, if you caused an accident while driving a company car or your own vehicle to perform a job-related task, your employer would likely be held liable for it.
The damages that could potentially be covered by the employer’s insurance include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Any out-of-pocket expenses, including medication, crutches, or other items required for treatment
When the Employee is Liable
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so vicarious liability does not always apply. You could be liable for a motor vehicle accident if:
- You were running a personal errand, even if it was during work hours or while you were driving a company car
- You committed a crime at the time of the accident
Additionally, your employer would not be considered liable for your car accident if you were commuting to work, even if you were driving a company car. Your work commute is not considered something that is within the scope of employment. However, an exception to this would be if your commute was made while on a business trip. If you are found liable for a motor vehicle accident, your employer’s insurance would not cover the damages to any third party injuries. Instead, your own insurance company would be responsible for the damages.
Employee Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation
If you were to sustain injuries in a motor vehicle accident while driving for work, your employer would be required to pay for any costs associated with your injuries, no matter who is at fault for it. Workers’ compensation can cover things like medical bills and lost wages. As stated before, however, the accident would have had to occur while work duties were being performed. If you were performing a personal task, you would not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
If the accident was caused by a third party, you might also be able to pursue compensation from the negligent driver. Unlike workers’ compensation, the personal injury lawsuit you file against the driver can also cover pain and suffering damages, allowing you to maximize the value of your damage award.
Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Sacramento
If you sustained injuries while performing your job duties, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and should seek skilled legal assistance as soon as possible to ensure you are able to obtain these crucial benefits. At Smolich & Smolich in Sacramento, our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to providing the knowledgeable and exceptional legal guidance you need during this difficult time. No matter where you are in the process, you can count on us to help you navigate your way through it.
Get started on your workers’ compensation case today and reach out to our law firm at (888) 452-0703 to request your free initial case evaluation with one of our compassionate attorneys. If we cannot win your case, you will not owe us any legal fees.