If you frequently drive a company vehicle for work, you always run the risk of being injured in an accident. If an accident occurs, you could receive workers’ compensation, but that ultimately depends on how you’re using the vehicle at the time. Just because it’s a company vehicle does not mean the accident is automatically work-related.
Workers’ Comp Vs. Personal Injury
In the event of an accident involving a corporate vehicle, there are two ways to recover a monetary reward—workers’ compensation and personal injury litigation. The primary difference between the two is that personal injury suits are fault-based, whereas workers’ comp is a no-fault system.
In order to recover personal injury damages, the other party needs to be at fault for the accident (or at the very least, be more at fault than you are). If you were at fault for the accident, you cannot recover damages this way.
For workers’ compensation to apply, the accident must be work related. This often applies when you are driving a company vehicle. Fault does not come into play here—even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you could still recover workers’ compensation.
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, an injury must arise from the course of performing your work-related duties. As such, even if you are driving a company vehicle, you may not necessarily qualify for benefits. Cases where you wouldn’t likely qualify include:
- Using the vehicle to commute to and from work
- Running personal errands, either during or outside of company time
- Using the vehicle for recreational purposes
- Any other personal use of a corporate vehicle
On the other hand, the following typically qualify as work-related activities:
- Delivering or transporting product
- Traveling during business trips
- Running an errand for your employer
- Driving to and from off-site jobs
- Making purchases for your employer
If you have been injured in the course of fulfilling these duties using a company vehicle, you can receive compensation. Again, fault does not come into play here—it’s purely a matter of whether you were fulfilling your employment obligations.
Even if you would normally be entitled to compensation, sometimes it’s not so simple. Your employer may try to minimize your injury or claim that you were in violation of company safety rules and thereby deny you coverage. In these cases, you need the assistance of a skilled attorney as well as ample evidence on your side.
In the event of a corporate vehicle accident, you should always get the other driver’s information and collect evidence of the crash. Pictures of the accident site as well as eyewitness accounts can both help you. In addition, seek medical attention as promptly as possible. A statement from your doctor will help you tremendously when seeking compensation.
There is a good chance you’ll be able to recover personal injury damages for your accident as well. In general, these are worth more than workers’ comp claims, so if it comes to a choice between the two, you may be better off opting for personal injury damages.
If you have been injured while driving a company vehicle, contact Hart David Carson today for the legal assistance you need.