In most instances, the driver who is at fault for a car accident is liable for any damages caused by the collision. However, determining liability often becomes more complicated when the car accident is caused by someone who is driving for work or operating a company vehicle. In these situations, the following questions may arise:
- Who is responsible for damages caused by the accident?
- Whose insurance company is responsible for paying out any settlements?
- Are there any other special benefits available, such as workers’ compensation?
- What role does negligence play in determining liability?
It’s important to work with an experienced car accident lawyer who understands how Ontario laws apply to these cases. Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers will evaluate the circumstances around your accident to determine if you are entitled to compensation and the best way to pursue it.
When is My Employer Liable?
Your employer can be held liable for a car accident you cause while you’re driving for work under the doctrine of vicarious liability, which states that an employer can be held liable for an employee’s actions if:
- The employee’s actions were conducted within the scope of employment
- The employee’s actions were performed while working
- The employee was performing a task he or she was hired to do
- The employer benefited from the activity being performed by the employee when the accident occurred
In other words, if you caused an accident while driving a company vehicle or while using your own vehicle to carry out a task related to your job, your employer can be held liable for the car accident.
In instances where your employer is found liable for the car accident, their company insurance policy will typically cover damages to any third party injured in the accident. This third party could be the driver or passenger in another vehicle, a passenger in the company vehicle, and pedestrians injured in the car accident.
Damages covered by the employer’s insurance may include:
- Medical bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses such as medications, bandages, crutches, and other items required as part of treatment
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
When is the Employee Liable?
There are certain exceptions to the rule of vicarious liability. You may be considered liable for an accident you caused if:
- You were running a personal errand at the time of the accident, even if it occurred during work hours or while driving a company vehicle
- You were committing a crime at the time of the car accident
In addition, employers are generally not considered liable for car accidents caused while you are commuting to work, even if the commute is done in a company vehicle. This is due to the fact that commutes aren’t typically considered within the scope of employment. An exception to this may involve commutes made on a business trip.
If you’re found to be liable for the car accident, your employer’s insurance will most likely not cover damages to any third party injured victims. In these situations, your insurance company will be responsible for paying any damages.
Are My Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
If you’re injured in a car accident caused while driving for work, your employer will typically be required to pay for any costs associated with your injuries, regardless of who is at fault for the accident, as part of workers’ compensation. This may cover expenses such as medical bills and lost wages.
In order for your injuries to be covered under workers’ compensation, they must be work-related. Therefore, you must be performing a work-related task at the time of the car accident. If you were running a personal errand when the collision took place, you may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Injuries Caused by the Negligence of a Third Party Driver
If you’re injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver while operating a company vehicle or performing a work-related task, you may have two potential avenues to pursue compensation.
You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits since the accident occurred while driving for work. In addition, you may be able to pursue compensation from the negligent driver as part of a car accident lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation will usually cover only a portion of lost wages and will not cover pain and suffering damages. By filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver, you can potentially receive compensation for the remainder of your lost wages as well as for pain and suffering, which will help you maximize the value of your damage award.
Contact our Hamilton Car Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that occurred while you were driving for work, it’s crucial that you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer at once. These cases are more complex than typical car accident claims, and our car accident lawyers can make sure your rights are protected every step of the way.
Please contact Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers using the form on this page or call 905-522-9799 today to schedule your free consultation. We serve clients in Hamilton, Brantford, Burlington, Stoney Creek, Niagara Falls and the surrounding areas of Ontario.