Who is Responsible for Work-Related Auto Accidents?

April 11, 2022

car accident in company vehicle in Alabama

In case a car accident wasn’t stressful enough, a work-related accident means bringing your employer into the loop. If you’ve been injured in a work-related crash, you’re likely wondering who pays for damages, if you’re going to get sued, and what you should do if someone else caused the accident.

We can help. Call Hodges Trial Lawyers at 256-539-3110 to set up a meeting right now.

Is Your Accident Truly Work-Related?

First, you’ll need to determine whether or not the accident was actually work-related. For example, many people think an accident is work-related if they were on their way to or from work. However, this does not meet the qualifications of a work accident. Your commute to and from work is considered your own time, so an accident would go through your own personal insurance.

For an accident to be work-related, it must occur while you are within the scope of your normal work duties. Consider a social worker who makes home visits as part of their daily work. If they were involved in a crash while traveling between homes or between the office and an individual’s home, that would be work-related. If they stopped off to have coffee, that may not be work-related.

Reporting the Accident

The state of Alabama requires you to report an accident within 30 days. It’s recommended, though, that you don’t wait. Reporting the accident right away allows you to get a police officer to the scene of the crash, where they can hear both sides of the story and issue citations. If the other party is liable for the crash, a citation against them can be helpful to your case.

In addition to reporting the accident to the police, you will need to report it to your employer. This is true whether or not you are the one at fault for an accident.

Determining Liability

As is the case with any car accident, you’ll need to determine liability. Figuring out who is responsible for the accident makes it easier to seek compensation and work with insurance. If you are liable for the accident, your employer’s insurance provider will handle everything. They carry a commercial insurance policy specifically for these situations.

If you try to run the accident through your own insurance, they will deny the claim once they find out you were on the clock when the crash happened. While some personal insurance companies allow you to add a commercial clause to your policy, most require that those claims go through your employer.

Note that your company’s handling of the accident itself is separate from your relationship with them. While they cannot force you to pay for the accident, as their insurance will cover it, they can take disciplinary action against you.

If the other party is liable for the crash, your employer may pursue them for damage to the company vehicle—assuming that you weren’t driving your own car. However, if you want to push for full compensation, you may still want to work with an attorney.

Benefits of Working with an Attorney

The accident may leave you with medical expenses, lost wages, and other related expenses. Without the help of an attorney, you’re unlikely to get the settlement you deserve. Insurance companies are experts at offering lowball settlements and getting victims to accept them.

They may tell you that their initial offer is the very best they can do or imply that the accident is partially your fault, driving down the value of your claim. Instead of trusting them, get a legal professional whose sole job is to represent you. If you accept a low settlement offer, you have no recourse if your accident-related expenses end up exceeding the original settlement amount.

Consult the Team at Hodges Trial Lawyers Now

If you’ve been left injured and out of work after a work-related car accident, it is time to talk to a personal injury attorney and figure out what your next step is. To set up a consultation, call Hodges Trial Lawyers at 256-539-3110 or contact us online. We’ll create a plan to pursue the compensation you are owed.