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Many employees find it difficult to set boundaries between their professional and personal lives. It can get even more complicated when workers use their personal vehicles for job-related activities.
With more drivers on the road, work-related crashes are alarmingly common. According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, over 1,800 fatalities and 379,000 work-related motor vehicle injuries occurred in 2018. The same report estimates that work-related crashes cost employers over $72 billion in health benefits, insurance payouts, and other damages.
If you’re in an accident while driving your personal vehicle for work, some immediate questions will come to mind, such as who will pay for your damages and vehicle repairs. The answer to those questions depends on several factors.
Your employer may be responsible for some damages in a work-related accident. It ultimately comes down to vicarious liability — in short, your employer is liable if you are an employee working or otherwise serving your employer at the time of the crash.
For this reason, most employers carry liability insurance for injuries an employee could cause in a car accident. However, employers rarely carry insurance for property damage if an employee uses their personal vehicle for work. An employee’s injuries in a crash would likely be covered under a workers’ compensation claim.
In most cases, your employer can only be liable if you are considered an employee, not an independent contractor. If you are an employee, your employer is most likely vicariously liable for any negligent act you are involved in while on the clock.
If you are an independent contractor, liability gets more complicated, especially if you’re using your personal vehicle for work. In many cases and states, you would be personally responsible for the accident and must file a claim with your insurance company.
If you’re at fault for an accident while using your personal vehicle for work, you could lose your job, see higher insurance premiums, or even face a lawsuit from anyone hurt in the crash. Your employer could be held liable for injuries you cause. Still, you may have to file a claim with your personal insurance to recover compensation for property damage such as vehicle repairs.
If you’re not at fault for the accident, it won’t affect either your insurance or your employer’s insurance.
Your employer can only be liable for your accident if you can prove you were on the job when it happened. You’ll have to show the following:
Generally, time spent commuting between work and your home is considered your personal time, and your employer is not responsible for accidents then. Your employer might not be liable if you leave the office for personal errands. However, leaving your workplace to go to another business site could be considered a work-related task.
Rideshare and delivery companies insure their drivers, but the coverage might only apply during certain times, such as if a driver is giving a ride or en route to pick up a passenger or make a delivery.
However, liability for rideshare and delivery accidents is further complicated because many companies classify their workers as independent contractors and not employees. This leaves workers personally responsible for the accident in many cases.
Navigating the challenge of liability in a car accident case can be challenging. Contact a dedicated car accident lawyer if you were in an accident while using your personal vehicle for work.
An experienced attorney can evaluate the circumstances, discuss your options, and advise you about what to do next. We guarantee your satisfaction, no win, no fee. Reach out online Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. or call 312-236-2900.