If you were hit by a company vehicle, you need to know who is liable to compensate you. Depending on the facts of your case, the company or a third party might be responsible for your losses.
Our personal injury law firm evaluates these scenarios on a case-by-case basis and can walk you through that analysis when we discuss your injury claim.
When a Boss Is Liable for a Company Vehicle Hitting an Employee
These injuries are usually matters for workers compensation benefits. In the state of Georgia, workers compensation is defined as:
“a benefits program created by state law that provides medical,
rehabilitative, income, death and other benefits to employees and
dependents due to injury, illness and death resulting from a
compensable work-related claim covered by the law.”
If a company vehicle struck you while you were performing your job duties during your work hours, under Georgia law your injuries would constitute a compensable claim. You will have to follow the strict regulations about:
- Quickly reporting the incident to your employer
- Getting treatment from an authorized treating physician
- Cooperating with your employer and the approved physician to get medical evaluations, treatment, rehabilitative services, and claim investigation.
You can receive free medical care and cash disability benefits to replace a portion of your regular income through workers compensation.
When Workers Compensation Does Not Cover an Employee Hit by a Company Vehicle
Workers compensation in Georgia only covers you for injuries you sustain while working. If the company car strikes you while you are on your lunch or other breaks, workers compensation will not pay you benefits. In a situation like this, you will have to look to other sources for compensation, such as:
The driver of the company vehicle. Let’s say that the company truck hit you because the driver was texting someone on her cell phone while operating the vehicle. The driver’s negligence from texting while driving caused your injuries, so she can be liable to you for damages.
The company. The employer can have responsibility under a couple of legal theories, including negligence. Examples of negligence include:
- Negligent hiring for failing to perform an adequate background check on the driver, if that research would have discovered information that the driver had been careless with company vehicles in the past
- Negligent supervision if the firm did not create and enforce a policy that prohibited employees from texting while driving company vehicles
- Negligent training if the company did not train drivers on the safe operation of company vehicles.
An employer can also be liable under the legal theory of respondeat superior, which states that an employer can be liable for some of the acts of its employees. For example, but for the boss putting the driver in the position of operating the company vehicle, you would not have sustained the injury.
How We Prove Negligence
There are four factors to negligence, and we have to prove each one to win a lawsuit in which we allege that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. The four facets are:
- The defendant had a legal duty toward you. Like all drivers, the driver of the company vehicle had a duty to operate the truck with caution.
- The defendant breached her duty toward you. Breach of a legal duty of care is negligence. The defendant violated her duty of care by texting while behind the wheel.
- The negligence caused your injury. The defendant’s negligence caused the company truck to hit and injure you.
- You suffered measurable damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Physical injuries are measurable in that we can calculate the damages in dollars. Your medical bills will be proof of your quantifiable damages.
What Happens If You Were Partly to Blame
Let’s say that you were somewhat at fault in the accident. For instance, perhaps you were in an “out-of-bounds” area on the job site when you were hit by a company truck. Although the driver’s negligence in texting while behind the wheel was the primary cause of the wreck, the judge assessed 10 percent of the responsibility for the accident to you for being in the wrong place.
Do not worry – you can still recover compensation for your damages as the rule of comparative negligence is applied in Georgia. This law deducts an amount equal to your proportion of the total negligence, and you get to collect the remaining award. For example, if your losses were $200,000, your 10 percent of the negligence will reduce your compensation by 10 percent, which is $20,000. You can recover $180,000.
Getting Legal Help After a Company Vehicle Strikes You
You might have several different legal options if a company vehicle hit and injured you, but you do not have to figure out this issue by yourself. The team at S. Burke Law will evaluate your case you can focus on getting well. Call us at 404-842-7838 to arrange a time to discuss your case. The consultation is free, and there is no obligation.