Does an Accident in a Work-Assigned Vehicle Fall Under Workers’ Compensation?
Some jobs involve driving, such as delivering packages or driving a commercial vehicle. Some employers give employees cars to drive for business and personal use.
Despite your best efforts to avoid an accident, it may still happen. If it does, you may be unsure if you will be covered by the workers’ compensation system, as the injury occurred offsite. Below, learn more about this potentially complex issue and the factors involved.
Company Car Vs. a Work Vehicle
There are certain kinds of jobs that require the use of a certain type of vehicle. Often, this vehicle is only used during business hours when the employee is on the clock. There are also jobs that provide workers with what is commonly referred to as a company car, and workers use this car all the time, even when they are not working.
Delivery and commercial drivers top the list of employees who must use a certain kind of vehicle while on the job. This category of work vehicles includes any vehicle used for a job with a description that includes driving and operation of a vehicle. These types of jobs may also require people to pass a driving test.
When the employee’s shift is over, he or she generally returns the vehicle to a parking facility. The vehicle used for work is usually not taken home. Some other jobs that may require the use of company vehicles that are not taken home include cleaning services and utility maintenance.
There are also companies that provide vehicles for employees to drive all the time, whether they are on the clock or not. For example, if you are expected to regularly meet with current or potential clients, the company may want you to drive around in a luxury car. The company is likely to pay for and provide insurance for the vehicle. Company cars are generally provided to employees who do not work from nine to five.
Workers’ Comp Coverage for Car Accidents
Generally, if you were engaged in a work-related activity when you were injured, you should be covered by the workers’ compensation system. You would be covered even if you were at fault for the injury, unless you were injured in a fight you started or because you were horsing around.
If you are a delivery driver who was injured while making a delivery, you should be covered by workers’ compensation. If you were driving a company car and engaged in work-related activity, you are likely to be covered. Things may get more complicated if you were on a personal errand or doing something else completely unrelated to your job.
However, if you do not have a work vehicle or company-assigned car, you are generally not covered unless you were engaged in work-related activity. That means you may be covered if you were running an errand for your boss or going to pick something up for your company. Accidents that occur while driving for a work emergency or to get to a meeting or appointment are likely covered as well.
However, an accident during your commute to work or home is unlikely to be covered by the workers’ compensation system.
Workers’ Comp Coverage Vs. Employer Liability Insurance
New Jersey is a no-fault state, which means car accident victims generally file claims with their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. If the injuries you suffered were due to an accident in a company vehicle, you may be eligible for compensation through workers’ comp or your company’s insurance policy.
If another driver was at fault for the collision, it may be possible to file a claim against that driver’s liability insurance. However, you would probably only be able to do this after exhausting your employer’s coverage.
If you were at fault for the crash, your employer’s liability coverage would likely pay for damages suffered by the other driver.
It is important to note if you are using your own vehicle for work purposes, your insurance may not cover you.
Let Us Review Your Claim
Due to the complexities involving work-assigned vehicle accidents, it is in your best interest to discuss your case with one of our car accident lawyers in New Jersey.
Your initial consultation is free, and we will review your claim at no cost to you. If you decide to hire us, we do not charge you anything unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
Call today to schedule your free consultation: (800) 518-0508