What Happens If You Crash a Company Vehicle?

Delivery man carrying package while customer sign in clipboard

If you have to travel to fulfill your job duties, having a company vehicle at your disposal can be a great benefit. However, accidents involving company vehicles can prove much more complicated despite the potential perks. If you have been injured in a car accident in a company vehicle, you may wonder who is liable for damages and whether you’re eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Please continue reading to learn how liability is determined in these accidents and how our experienced Essex County Workers’ Compensation Attorneys can help ensure you receive all appropriate benefits. 

Who Covers Damages?

Generally, employers are legally liable when their employee is involved in an accident in a company vehicle. This is because of the legal concept of vicarious liability. This legal doctrine holds a supervisory party liable for the negligent actions of a third party for whom they are responsible. As such, employers are held accountable for their employee’s actions when the employee injures someone while acting within the scope of their employment. For this legal doctrine to apply, the employee must have acted in some capacity to further their employer’s business at the time of the accident. It’s crucial to understand that your employer is not vicariously liable for a collision unless you’re deemed at fault for the crash.

Nevertheless, there are limitations to vicarious liability, even if an employee acts within the scope of their employment. For instance, an employer would not be responsible for covering damages you cause in a car accident with a company vehicle if you were engaging in criminal activity, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the collision. If you were not acting within the scope of your employment, such as using the vehicle for recreational travel beyond business hours, your employer would not be responsible for damages you caused in an accident.

Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

Under New Jersey law, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If an employee is injured or becomes ill as a direct result of their job, they are usually eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. However, the injury must have been work-related or, in other words, occurred in the course of employment. For example, if you were injured in a car accident in a company vehicle while committing to the office, you would not be eligible to file a worker’s compensation claim. Nonetheless, you may qualify for benefits if you performed a work-related duty during this commute.

If you were injured in a car accident in a company vehicle and need quality legal representation to help you recover the fair compensation you deserve, please don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Christopher T. Howell, Esq. today. Our legal team is prepared to represent your rights and interests.