In most cases, the at-fault driver for a car accident is liable for damages caused in the unfortunate event. However, things become more challenging when determining liability if the car accident was caused while being engaged in a work-related endeavor or operating a company vehicle.
Generally, employers have vicarious responsibility for their employees' actions.
There is a legal principle entitled "respondeat superior," which states that employers are legally responsible for any actions undertaken by the employees in the course of their employment.
However, determining what the course of employment represents can prove to be challenging. This means that the employer can then be considered liable for any accidents and damages incurred by the employee while:
- Driving to and from work.
- Driving while carrying out work duties - errands, deliveries, work meetings, etc.
- In certain conditions, for distracting driving accidents - such as cell-phone related accidents.
- In some states, even while driving a company car on personal tasks. Still, there are certain states where an employee can be held responsible when using a personal or company vehicle for personal reasons.
Establishing Several Important Facts After a Work-Related Car Accident
If you've been injured in Miami following a car accident that occurred while you were on the job or on a business trip, a few unanswered questions arise. The responses are important for establishing the main aspects of your work-related car incident:
- Do you have a Florida workers' compensation policy?
- Were you in your car or a company vehicle?
- Do you have personal car insurance?
- Who was at fault for the crash, you, or another driver?
- Who was driving when the accident happened, you or a co-worker?
Available Types of Compensation for Work-Related Car Accidents
PIP benefits are primary, but workers' compensation benefits may also be accessed simultaneously. However, workers' compensation benefits will be credited against PIP benefits. Workers' compensation covers car accidents in case the victim is injured in a traffic accident while on duty. Employees who are injured on the job have the right to have their medical expenses covered.
According to Florida law, the time you take off from work will not be paid for the first seven days of disability. However, if the disability time extends over 21 days, the first seven days could be paid as well. Also, damages for pain and suffering, future medical expenses, and punitive damages for employer negligence are not available with worker compensation.
If the employer and the insurance company have denied claims for benefits, injured employees are advised to contact an attorney to avoid losing their legal rights.
What Will The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary Do for You?
Workers' compensation may not be the only type of compensation available to you after a car accident that injures you while you are on duty. You can seek compensation through a third-party claim against a third party liable for causing the car accident.
If the other car's driver caused the accident, you could receive compensation for your losses from that driver's insurance company. You might also pursue a third-party claim if you were riding with a co-worker who was driving when the accident happened.
In other cases, car accidents can become product liability claims, for example, tire or airbag failures that cause injury.
If you were involved in a work-related car accident that left you with severe injuries, you need a competent lawyer experienced in workers' compensation and personal injury cases. Especially in cases of disability or long-term recovery, any incorrect decision could have catastrophic financial consequences.