What Happens If I Was in a Car Accident While on the Job Clock?

If you were in a car accident while on the clock, you probably have questions about who will pay your losses if you sustained injuries. You might think that your boss is automatically responsible for all your damages, but in some situations, both your employer and third parties share the liability. In other situations, third parties alone must compensate you.

When an Employer Is Liable for Car Accidents of Employees

Your employer’s liability will depend on the facts of your individual case, but companies are often liable for the losses of employees when they get into collisions during a work shift. Here are some examples of when your employer will be liable:

  • Your job is to drive a delivery truck, and you get into a wreck while making deliveries for your company.
  • You are installing appliances at houses throughout the day, and your wreck happens when you are driving from one installation location to the next.
  • You are on a business trip attending a convention in another city. You get into a car accident while on this business travel.
  • You are driving the company car when you collide with another vehicle.

When an Employer Might Not Be Liable for Car Accidents of Employees

There are some situations in which your boss might not have to pay for your car accident damages even if the accident happened during your ordinary work hours. Here are a few:

  • An employee is supposed to be at work, but she leaves the job site without permission, goes to a bar, drinks alcoholic beverages while there, and then gets into a wreck.
  • An employee is delivering a package for the boss, but on the way, leaves the intended route to go to the casino and has a crash while driving to the casino.
  • An employee intentionally crashes a vehicle.

A car accident lawyer can determine fault and help you recover damages caused by your accident.

Other Parties Who Can Be Liable

Whether your boss is responsible for your injuries or not, sometimes, depending on the facts of the situation, other people can have to pay compensation for your damages. Here are some examples:

  • You were riding the company shuttle from the parking lot to the hospital where you work. On the way, the shuttle driver, who was intoxicated, crashed into a tree. In addition to seeking damages from your employer, you can also pursue compensation from the shuttle driver for his negligence in driving while under the influence of alcohol.
  • You drive a delivery truck. While making your usual rounds, another driver ran a red light and t-boned your delivery truck. Both your employer and the negligent driver can be liable for your damages.
  • You are driving a company car. The brakes failed, causing you to plow into a building. The party whose negligence is to blame for the faulty brakes can be liable for your damages. The third party could be the company mechanic who maintained the company fleet, the installer of the brakes, or the brake manufacturer.

Elements of Negligence

If we are to seek compensation from someone other than your employer, we must demonstrate that their negligence led to your injuries. Negligence has four elements, all of which we must prove to hold someone liable:

  • Duty of care. The defendant must have had a duty of care toward you. All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles cautiously. In the example of the shuttle bus crash, the driver had a duty to be sober when at the wheel.
  • Breach of the duty of care. Negligence is when a person violates a duty of care toward you. When the driver drove while drunk, he violated his duty of care.
  • Causation. The negligence must be a cause of your injuries. Since the driver’s intoxicated state caused the smash-up in which you got hurt, the facts satisfy the causation element.
  • Measurable damages. If you suffered physical injuries in the wreck, you satisfy this final element of damages. In addition, having physical damages opens the opportunity to claim non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.

What Happens if You Were Also Negligent?

In many crashes, more than one person made a mistake that led up to the wreck. If you were partly to blame for the car accident, you can still recover some of your damages. Georgia follows the law of comparative negligence, which allows you to collect compensation, but reduces it to account for the percentage of your fault.

Let’s say that your damages were $100,000 from an accident. If the judge found you to be 10 percent at fault, you could still get $90,000 for your losses, after the law deducts your proportion of the total negligence.

How to Get Help for a Car Accident That Happened During Work Hours

You might have questions about who is responsible for your injuries if you got hurt in a car accident during your workday. The team at S. Burke Law will be happy to answer your questions and explain your right to compensation. Just call us at 404-842-7838 to set up your free consultation. There is no obligation, and we do not charge legal fees until you win.