What To Do In A Vehicle Accident On The Job

By rbc_adm | | Commercial Auto, Commercial Auto Insurance, Commercial Insurance

Getting into a vehicle accident on the job is never easy, and there are many things a worker and an employer must deal with. As an employer, it can be challenging if one of your workers is involved in an accident using a company-owned vehicle while performing an official function on the clock. Hopefully, you have commercial insurance to deal with such incidents.

What Do You Do After an Accident on the Job? 

But the question remains: are you responsible if an employee is involved in a car accident while on the job?


Unfortunately, the simple answer to that question is often “yes.” But things aren’t always straightforward with vehicular accidents. Some circumstances may free you from liability if one of your employees causes damage or injury while driving a company car on the clock. 

When are Employers Liable for On-the-Clock Accidents?

Employers may have legal liability for accidents their workers are involved in if they occur on the clock or involve a company vehicle. Additionally, there is a liability if the accident occurs during a work-related job or function. 


For example, suppose you ask an employee to pick up your laundry from the cleaners. You may be liable for accident-related damages or injuries even if the errand isn’t part of the employee’s official function. Because the employee is under your orders, insurers will treat it as if it were an official task. 


Employer liability applies in the above circumstances, even if the accident doesn’t involve a company vehicle. If your employee suffers an injury while making deliveries in their personal car, vicarious liability means that you, as the employer, are also responsible for the incident.

Factors that Free Employers from Liability

Not all accidents that occur on the clock will result in employer liability. Employees that act outside the scope of employment or their employer’s direction assume all responsibility for accidents they are involved in. It goes for performing personal errands, getting something to eat outside lunch hour, or other personal activities. 


Employers are generally free of liability in the above cases, even if the accident occurs during work hours and involves the company vehicle. In these situations, the employee will have to pay for third-party damages or injuries from their own insurance. 

Can Employees Claim Workers’ Comp for Vehicular Accidents on the Job?

Employees involved in vehicular accidents may be eligible for workers’ comp under the following circumstances: 

  1. The accident occurs while they are on the clock.
  2. They are performing a task or function related to their employment.
  3. The incident resulted in lost work, medical expenses, and other damages.


All of these factors make an employee eligible for workers’ compensation. But it is important to note that workers’ comp isn’t applicable if the accident occurs while the employee in question is commuting to or from work. 


Accidents during work commutes fall under the “coming and going” rule. Although traveling to and from the workplace would seem part of the employment scope, insurers generally do not cover accidents during these periods. 


For instance, on-call workers are essentially performing a work-related function while driving to and from work. As such, they may qualify for workers’ comp. 


The same goes for employees that routinely travel as part of their jobs, spend a considerable amount of time traveling, or go on business trips. These employees may be eligible for workers’ comp even if they are involved in an accident outside standard work hours. 


Whether you are an employee involved in a vehicular accident or the employer, your best action after such an incident is to consult with an attorney. These legal professionals have the knowledge and experience to deal with such cases, mainly if they occur during work hours and involve company-owned vehicles. 


Qualified lawyers will assess the situation and determine whether workers’ compensation is warranted or if you need to honor a third-party claim. Consultation with an attorney is the best option for finding a favorable resolution to such incidents. 

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