What Happens if I Get Injured While Driving a Company Car?

man in car with packages

The idea of an employer offering you a company car can be exciting. Especially if you do a lot of driving for your role or commute a long way, employers often give certain employees a company vehicle to use during work hours or round the clock. If you get into an accident and are injured while driving a company car you might feel uneasy about the aftermath. Who is responsible and who will cover the costs? For more information and to work with an experienced lawyer, reach out to a Middlesex County workplace accident attorney.

Is the Employer Responsible for My Accident While Driving the Company Car?

If you get into an accident in the company car while performing a work-related task, generally your employer will be liable for the damages. This is known as vicarious liability. It is a secondary liability that a supervisory party bears for the actions and behavior of their subordinate. Under this ideal, an employer is responsible for the actions of their employees. The company insurance carrier typically pays for associated medical bills, property damage, and more.

Is the Employee Ever Responsible?

There are certain instances when an employer will not be required to cover expenses related to your accident, even if the company car is involved. When you are not performing tasks within the scope of your employment it is not your employer’s responsibility to bear the liability for your accident. If you were using the company car to run personal errands you might be found solely responsible. Additionally, if you were driving the company vehicle at a point not during your business hours for personal or recreational purposes, your employer is likely off the hook for the costs.

Even if the employee is completing a business task during business hours, there is still one way where they may face sole blame for the accident. If they were committing a crime or participating in criminal activity at the time of the accident, their employer would probably not be responsible for covering the accident. This could include driving while intoxicated or any other crime committed in tandem with the accident.

Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

Under New Jersey state law, an employee may be eligible for benefits via workers’ compensation as long as they were injured in the course of their employment or the injury was work-related. When you are injured while driving a company car it can be more complex than if you were injured on the premises. However, the following are ways you can be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits from an accident involving a company vehicle.

  • You drive for a living, e.g. truck driver, bus driver, etc.
  • You were making a work-related delivery
  • You were running a work-related errand or an errand for your boss
  • You were transporting another employee
  • You were engaging in any form of work-related travel

A benefit of workers’ compensation is that it is a no-fault program. If you were liable for the accident and would likely lose a civil lawsuit, you can still submit a claim to receive compensation through your employer.

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