Hundreds of businesses offer company vehicles to employees who must commute to and from their jobs. However, employees who experience work-related car accidents may wonder who’s liable for damages. An NYC car accident lawyer can explain everything you should know about these collisions.
Having the right advice can help you pursue compensation. If you experience an accident while traveling for work, consider the following information.
Are Employees Liable for a Car Accident at Work?
Work-related car accidents are more common than you may think. Thousands of cases occur across the United States every year, sometimes ending in serious injury or death. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that these accidents contributed to around 40% of occupational deaths reported in 2020.
While not all vehicle collisions are fatal, they can still cause thousands of dollars in damages. New York operates on a vicarious liability clause that holds employers liable for any car accident involving a company vehicle.
Suppose an employee injures you while driving a company car. In that case, you may be able to demand restitution from their respective business for damages.
Still, some exceptions do apply. For example, the company will not be liable if the employee wrecks the vehicle outside work-related duties.
When Is the Driver at Fault?
What if an employee is committing a crime or driving recklessly while using a company vehicle? In that case, a court may hold them at fault for accidents. Some examples of this behavior include:
- Drunk or impaired driving
- Tailgating other vehicles
- Failing to use turn signals properly
- Merging dangerously into traffic
- Falling asleep while driving
Additionally, an employee who uses a company vehicle for personal transportation outside work hours could be responsible for damages. Many company policies discourage these behaviors and allow an employer to fire reckless drivers should accidents occur.
Some vehicles experience technical or mechanical problems that cause the driver to lose control. It is a business’s responsibility to check and maintain company vehicles to prevent these disasters. In the event of a collision, an injured employee may be able to file a claim against their employer.
New York’s Comparative Negligence Statute
NY CPLR § 1411 dictates that all parties involved in a work-related car accident can seek compensation according to their responsibility. This law also translates to liable employers. For example, suppose an employee was 75% responsible for causing an accident using a company vehicle.
In this case, a court may consider the employer vicariously liable for the collision. The employer may be able to seek 25% of the damages caused to their vehicle but may still owe restitution.
What If You Sustain an Injury?
Recent studies indicate that New York has a 15% increase in year-over-year car collision rates. This data suggests that drivers are at a higher risk of getting into an accident that causes injury. So what happens if you sustain an injury due to a work-related car accident?
Like other types of collisions, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. Common car injuries include:
- Brain injuries
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue tears
- Psychological damage
- Spinal damage
- And more
Partnering with a personal injury attorney can help determine what to do after a crash. You will need to file a compensation claim with your insurance company before seeking litigation. In New York, each motorist must at least carry the minimum personal injury protection policy.
Insurance companies don’t always cover all your damages. If your losses exceed the minimum coverage, you may be able to seek a settlement from the at-fault driver or their employer.
Workers’ Compensation | Car Accident at Work
What happens if you sustain an injury from another driver while commuting to or from work?
If the accident was not your fault, you might be able to seek workers’ compensation. This rule also applies if you are using a personal vehicle for work.
Workers’ compensation benefits protect employees from financial losses caused by job-related incidents. In New York, you have 30 days to report your accident to an employer. However, your company will likely find out right away if you experience a work-related car accident.
You can wait up to two years after the accident to file a C-3 form for compensation.
Filing for workers’ compensation is a great way to pursue monetary reimbursement without navigating time-consuming lawsuits. As of November 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that over 7,300 individual workers in New York filed workers’ comp claims. The board paid over $50,410,000 in total medical costs.
Why Hire an Attorney for Work-Related Car Accidents?
Seeking compensation for work-related car accident injuries can be challenging without an attorney. Lawyers can gather evidence on your behalf, speak to insurance companies, and organize witnesses while you focus on recovery. Additionally, they can offer legal counsel to help determine if a lawsuit against a company is appropriate for your situation.
Researching attorneys can take time. It’s wise to partner with a law firm before an accident occurs. This way, you don’t experience unnecessary delays when seeking compensation.
Qualities of a good attorney include:
- Professional communication
- Ethical legal advice
- Personalized strategies for each client
An attorney will also keep you on track with filing deadlines and spearhead the settlement process.
Contact an Accident Lawyer Today
New York law can be confusing to navigate without a knowledgeable attorney by your side. If you experienced a car accident while at work, speak to a lawyer you can trust. At Ross & Hill, we pride ourselves on being there for clients when they need us.
Our attorneys have over 40 years of legal experience, managing hundreds of work-related cases. We take the time to understand each of our clients’ needs so that we can develop appropriate strategies for compensation.