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Barry Zimmerman

Car Accidents While Driving For Work: Who Is Responsible?

Ever wonder what the consequences are if you or a loved one are in a car accident while driving for work? You may also wonder what your employer’s liability is for a car accident in a company vehicle.  Or perhaps you would like to know who is responsible for an accident in your personal car that happens on company time? This post will answer these and other questions about whether a car accident at work can result in an employer being responsible to pay for the damages.

It all starts with Respondeat Superior

A mouthful, right? The doctrine of respondeat superior dates back to 17th century England, where the law held a master or employer legally liable for the actions of his servant or employee. This only applied to acts done while the servant or employee was working.

A 400-year-old legal principle will help determine your case!

This 400-year-old powerful legal principle that makes an employer liable for the negligent acts of his employee while doing their job remains one of the most important aspects of determining how your case will turn out.

Let’s look at two car accident scenarios related to working

  1. You are not at work, but you are in a car accident with someone who was at work, either driving a company car or their personal car, and it’s their fault.
  2. You are at work and you are in a car accident with someone who wasn’t working, and it’s their fault.

What if you are in a car accident with someone who is at work?

If the person who caused the car accident was in a company vehicle

If you are injured in a car accident and that car is driven by someone in a company vehicle, the employer will usually be liable.  Employers factor into the cost of doing business the risk that their employees may negligently cause injury to others while driving a company car.  Employers generally carry much higher insurance policies for car accidents in company vehicles.

If the person who caused the car accident was in their own vehicle

If you are in an accident caused by someone in their own personal car who is on company time, the employer will usually be liable. Like with company vehicles, employers generally carry much higher insurance policies for employees who are driving for work or who are in their personal cars on company time.

Proving the employer is liable

Just because you were hit by someone driving for work or on company time, which we’ve established means the employer is responsible, doesn’t mean your case will be easy and you will receive all the money and care you deserve. To be rewarded, you will need to investigate and prove the connection between the employee and employer. This involves interviewing witnesses, subpoenaing employment records, conducting vehicle inspections, all of which requires money for experts and investigators. This is the kind of work we help our clients with every day. This type of investigation can be a blow to your budget, which is why I will advance all the costs to prosecute your car accident case.  You will only have to pay me back for these services if we win.

Examples of company car accident cases or cases for accidents in personal cars on company time that I won

Over the years, I have recovered millions of dollars against employers for car accidents caused by their employees who were in company vehicles, who were driving for work, or who were in accidents in a personal car on company time. Here are a few of the many cases I won:

Pizza delivery driver going too fast

In a case against Round Table Pizza, I successfully recovered one million dollars against the employer for the negligence of their pizza delivery employee who was traveling too fast and caused a fatal accident, killing a passenger in a car that was stopped with its flashers on.

On-call nurse on her way to work at the hospital

In a case against a hospital, I successfully recovered five million dollars against the employer for the negligence of an on-call nurse employee who killed a bicyclist in her own personal car on her way to work.

Truck load of hay spilled on the road

In a case against a hay trucking company, I coordinated with the surviving victims to recover two million dollars in damages against the employer for the negligence of one of its employee drivers whose load spilled into the path of a motorcyclist, killing the driver and his passenger.

Police officer versus pedestrian

In a case against a city police department, I successfully recovered a six figure settlement in damages against the employer for the negligence of one of its officers, who carelessly struck a pedestrian while driving his patrol car.

What if you are at work or working and are hit by someone else?

It is not uncommon for you to be in a company vehicle or in your own personal car on company time and be in a car accident while driving for work that was caused by a private individual. In these situations, you may have two cases, which can make the situation a lot more complex. We’ll need to consider both workers compensation for car accidents at work and personal injury, if you are hurt.  Here are the two cases:
  1. A workers compensation case against your employer.
  2. A personal injury case against the person who hit you.
Both of these types of cases have tricky procedures and require the knowledge of both workers compensation law and personal injury law. In these complex situations there may be several layers of insurance including:
  • Liability insurance from the private party that caused the accident.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance providing you benefits for lost income and medical expenses as well as disability benefits while your case is ongoing.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage from your own insurer.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage from your employer.

Examples of cases I have won for people who were at work or working and were hit by someone else

City employee who was about to leave a lot of money on the table

I recently represented an employee of a city department who was injured in his own personal vehicle when he was involved in a car accident while driving for work.  I helped the injured employee through the workers compensation maze after his car accident, and then his claim against the driver that caused the accident and his underinsured motorist claim against his own insurance company.  Without my help, this employee would have left a lot of money on the table.

Police officer hit in her patrol car

I represented a police officer who was struck by another vehicle while driving her patrol car for work.  I helped the officer with her workers compensation benefits and her claim for damages against the party that caused the accident.

Lifetime medical and disability secured for police officer

I represented another police officer who was disabled from his employment as a result of an accident that occurred while he was driving his patrol car for work.  We were able to get future lifetime medical and future disability through workers compensation as well as damages through his personal injury case. For over 30 years, I have helped victims of accidents caused by employees while driving for work by recovering millions against their employers. I have represented employees in law enforcement, construction, sales, and in all other walks of life who have been injured in car accidents.  In these situations, I have learned the best ways to recover from each of the responsible parties. If you find yourself in a situation where either you or the other party was driving for work or in a company vehicle at the time of your accident, you would be wise to give me a call at 530-823-0705 or 916-884-0705 or fill out my contact form.

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