Am I eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if I’m injured in a car accident while on the job?

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A number of circumstances can complicate your case when you’re injured in a car accident. One aspect that can make navigating the claims process even trickier is if you were involved in a crash while you were “on the clock.” For the most part, injured workers are eligible for workers’ compensation regardless of whether or not an accident was their fault, as long as it occurred within the scope of their employment. However, there are exceptions to who can be held liable for work-related accidents. Please continue reading to learn what steps you should take after a work-related car accident and how our reliable Essex County Workers’ Compensation Attorneys can help you understand your legal options. 

Are employers liable for an employee’s car accident?

If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident while operating a company vehicle, your employer can be held liable for the crash. Under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability, an employer is liable for their employee’s actions while performing their job duties. Essentially, vicarious liability attaches the liability of the employee to their employer. For example, if you were depositing your employer at the bank, this would be considered vicarious liability because you were completing a job-related task at the time of the accident. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to this doctrine. If you were commuting to or from work, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or performing personal errands, vicarious liability won’t apply.

What should I do if I’m injured in a car accident while “on the clock?”

If you were involved in a car accident while driving for work, taking the necessary steps following the crash to safeguard your legal rights is crucial. Without realizing it, many victims make avoidable mistakes that hinder their ability to seek compensation for the damages they’ve incurred. Firstly, you should seek immediate medical attention and notify the police. After the police arrive, they will investigate the crash’s circumstances and ensure that your injuries are treated. Filing a police report is vital as this document will be necessary to prove your claim later on. If you and the other parties involved were not seriously injured, you should exchange your personal contact and insurance information with them.

Furthermore, collecting as much evidence as possible from the accident scene is beneficial. This includes taking pictures of the accident scenes and your injuries and gathering contact information from witnesses. After the police have cleared you to vacate the accident scene, you must immediately alert your employer of the accident. Reporting the accident to your employer is the first step in initiating the workers’ compensation process. If you fail to report your injuries to your employer promptly, you risk your claim being denied. However, the most crucial step you can take after an accident is retaining the legal services of a qualified attorney.

For more information about obtaining workers’ compensation benefits after a work-related car accident, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined attorney from the Law Offices of Christopher T. Howell, Esq. Our legal team is prepared to help you protect your rights and interests.