Let's say you working and your boss asks you to run an errand. On the way there you peek down at your phone for just a second. In that second a car suddenly breaks in front of you and you crash into them. You were responsible for the crash and that must mean you are liable, right? Not necessarily. If you get into a car accident while working then liability can get tricky. Even if you are partially at fault the other driver and your own injuries can be covered by your employer.
WHO WILL PAY FOR THE OTHER DRIVER'S DAMAGES?
If the other driver's vehicle was damaged in the accident, or even if they were injured, they can be covered by vicarious liability. Vicarious liability means that your employer is liable for your actions while you are working. There are some stipulations for vicarious liability. You must be working under your employer's request or in your employer's best interests. If you are running an errand for your boss but stop on the way for your own reasons then an accident at that time would not be your employer's responsibility. Here are some examples:
When your employer is liable for a car accident:
- You are dropping off a delivery to a customer per your employer's request
- You are running an errand for your boss
- You are picking up supplies for the office
When you are liable for a car accident:
- During your errand you drive to Starbucks to buy coffee for yourself
- You drive to lunch on your break
- While commuting to or from work
WHAT IF I WAS INJURED?
If you were injured in a car accident while working then your employer will likely be responsible for your injuries. Again, they will only be responsible if you were acting on your employer's behalf. If you are injured while driving for work then you can file a workers' compensation claim. Workers' compensation will pay for both your lost wages and medical bills. Timing is everything with workers' compensation so make sure to file a claim right away.
The other driver's insurance or your employer's insurance will not always work in your best interest. If you have been in a car accident while on the job then a lawyer can help you sort out the details. They can also help you file a workers' compensation claim for on the job injuries.