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1 800 HURT 511

Employer’s Liability in On-the-Job Car Accidents

When employees hop in their cars to run errands for work, employers might feel released of liability if a kind of out-of-sight, out-of-mind way. Employees are in their own cars, and for which they better have their own insurance. If they cause an accident, some bosses feel like that’s the employee’s problem, but sometimes the liability does fall on the employer. Lawsuits can be brought against an employer for an employee’s negligent acts while working off premises and workers’ comp can apply if the employee is hurt off premises while on the clock. Of course, when insurance is involved, you can bet it’s complicated so let’s take a look at how and when an employer can be held liable for employee accidents.

Vicarious liability puts the liability of an employee on the employer while the employee is serving the employer. An employer can be held liable for an employee’s negligent actions while working (or traveling for work). Vicarious liability gives victims the right to sue employers for the damage employees cause while on the clock. So for example, if an employee drives to the bank for her employer and injures someone in an accident, the victim could sue the employer for damages. Suing an employer is usually more lucrative than suing an employee so victims can use this law to get the most out of a lawsuit. Vicarious liability can be a nice loop hole to get more money, but it’s also an important protection.

The thing to understand here is that vicarious liability can make a company liable for something that happens off premises. If an employee drives somewhere for work purposes and gets into an accident and badly injures someone or collides with another car, the employer can be sued to cover the damages that the employee can’t afford to pay.

So what about the employee’s car insurance? Shouldn’t the employee’s car insurance take care of any damages or injuries? Yes, it should and will in most cases. The problem arises when the employee doesn’t have enough coverage. This can happen when there are multiple victims in an accident. All of the victims’ judgements combined might cost far more than a normal policy covers and so the victims go to the next in line, the vicariously liable employer. The same might be true for damage done to an incredibly expensive car. If an employee totals a $300,000 car, the employee’s insurance probably wouldn’t be enough to cover it.

An employer should protect itself against this eventuality by adding the appropriate coverage to their business auto policy. The extra insurance adds coverage beyond what the employee’s insurance covers. Having this coverage doesn’t mean that the employee’s insurance doesn’t get used in the case of an accident. The insurance follows the vehicle so if an employee was in an accident in their own car, their insurance is primary. The employer’s insurance kicks in if the employee’s insurance wasn’t enough to cover the damage.

Employees can be eligible for worker’s compensation if they were injured while driving their personal vehicles for work related purposes. Again, if an employee was insured at the time of the accident, the employee’s insurance pays for injuries up to the covered amount. After that coverage is drained, the worker’s comp could cover further injuries or lost wages.

The employer may be held accountable when an employee is commuting to and from work, the employer is not liable for the employee. If the employee stopped in a coffee shop after running a work errand but before returning to work, they could not make a claim against the employer. Likewise, an employee could not make a claim against the employer if the accident happened after completing a work errand and heading home. The employer’s liability does not include damage to the employee’s vehicle or the cost of the deductible.

These cases include many details and are not easy to navigate without the assistance of a qualified legal professional. Remember, each case is unique, so contact HURT-511 for more information on workers’ comp statute and our personal injury lawyers help injured workers recover the benefits to which they are entitled by law. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, call us toll-free at 800-4878-511 or complete our online form. Our firm handles accident and injury claims throughout all five boroughs of New York.

HURT-511 operates in all boroughs of New York including all Bronx neighborhoods, namely: Bedford Park, Belmont, Fordham, Highbridge, Hunts Point, Jerome Park, Kingsbridge, Morris Park, Morrisania, Mott Haven, Parkchester, Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Throgs Neck, University Heights and Woodlawn.

When Car Accidents Are Considered On-the-Job

Whether someone is on the job while driving is not always a simple question. In general, any time someone is performing any duties related to work, the person can be considered on the job even when he or she is also doing personal business and driving a personal car. For example, running errands in a personal car during lunch is not considered work-related, but if the employee is also picking up or dropping off something for work, the lunchtime driving becomes “on-the-job” time. Likewise, commuting to and from work generally is not considered on-the-job driving, even in a company car. But if the driver has to make work-related stops on the way, or has to drive to and from a job site other than the usual place of business, the driving might legally be considered on-the-job driving.

When you’re injured in an accident caused by someone who you think was “on the job” at the time of the crash, proving that was the case isn’t usually something that will fall to you. Most drivers have personal liability car insurance coverage, so if you believe the driver might have been on the job, send a notice of the accident to both the employer’s business insurance company and to the driver’s personal insurance company. Then the two insurers will have to sort out which one will provide the primary coverage for damages resulting from the accident.

If you agree to your employer’s request to take packages to the post office and have a serious car wreck on the way, you are most likely acting within the scope of employment since your employer is benefiting from your action of taking the business packages to the post office in your personal car. You are on the job. But, if you have dropped off the packages, stopped off for dinner and are then on your way home when you have an accident, driving home after dinner had no benefit to your employer so you were no longer “on the job” and your employer will not be liable.

Your employer is almost never liable for a serious accident you may have on your way to and from work. But, if your job requires you to stop and inspect a job site, pick up supplies, make a sales call or any other business related activity, your employer will be liable if you negligently cause a car crash. But, what if you stop along the way to pick up your dry cleaning and have an accident either on your way to the dry cleaners or after you have left it? This is a scenario that has no easy answer. It will have insurers and personal injury lawyers working to sort through the facts and evaluate the circumstances and may require a trial in order to have a final answer.

Only if the driver is personally uninsured, or has insurance coverage so low that it does not provide full compensation for your injuries, will you have to concern yourself with the question of whether the employee was on the job when the accident happened. If there is no simple answer, then the issue becomes another factor thrown into the general hopper of negotiations – along with who was at fault for the car accident and the nature and extent of the resulting injuries and other losses.

Personal vehicle insurance policies may or may not insure car owners for business use of their vehicles with one exception referred to as the livery exception. This means there is no insurance coverage if you use your car to transport goods or people in exchange for money. This applies to using the car like a taxi or delivery van, not a simple business errand.

Remember, each case is unique, so contact HURT-511 for more information on workers’ comp statute and our personal injury lawyers help injured workers recover the benefits to which they are entitled by law. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, call us toll-free at 800-4878-511 or complete our online form. Our firm handles accident and injury claims throughout all five boroughs of New York.

HURT-511 operates in all boroughs of New York including all Bronx neighborhoods, namely: Bedford Park, Belmont, Fordham, Highbridge, Hunts Point, Jerome Park, Kingsbridge, Morris Park, Morrisania, Mott Haven, Parkchester, Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Throgs Neck, University Heights and Woodlawn.

Coverage in On-the-Job Car Accidents

What kind of insurance is available to protect your business in case an employee of yours is in a work-related car accident? You can cover either all autos your business owns, all cars your business owns plus vehicles it leases or hires, or all cars used for your business, including those your company does not hire, lease, or own. There are a number of types of coverage you can buy.

Physical Damage Coverage will protect you in cases of collision, comprehensive, and specified perils. Collision coverage will protect you from losses caused by the collision of a covered vehicle with any object or if the auto overturns. Comprehensive provides protection for any cause other than collision or overturn. Specified covers many of the same things as comprehensive, but only the things named in the policy. Liability Coverage will pay for, up to the policy limits, all damages the business is legally responsible for because of bodily injury or property damage. Most insurance companies recommend coverage of $1,000,000, with a minimum of $500,000.

A Combined Single Limit creates higher single limits for property damage and bodily injury. Often, the limits for a small business are $500,000 and $1,000,000. Your Business Umbrella policy will protect your owned, non-owned, and hired vehicles, if the policy shows the auto liability policy as one of the underlying policies which it covers.

Your Auto Liability Coverage will cover company vehicles used by employees in the evenings or on weekends for personal use, if shown on the Declarations page. Your employees’ own auto insurance will cover them only if they have borrowed a company car temporarily while their vehicle is unavailable specifically as a replacement vehicle. If your employees lease, rent, borrow, or hire a car, they are not covered under your policy.

The Non-Owned Auto Liability Endorsement for your coverage will protect you if your employees drive their own cars on company business. The Drive Other Car Coverage Endorsement will protect you if your employees or executives have a company car as their only car and are in an accident using the vehicle for personal use.

Workers’ compensation will pay for an employee’s medical bills, out-of-pocket medical bills, and a portion of lost wages, if he or she is hurt while driving a company vehicle within the scope of his or her employment. It does not pay for pain and suffering. If the accident results in disability, workers’ comp will pay a settlement award.

In many cases you, as a business owner, are responsible for work-related car accidents. In addition, the law says you are responsible if you knowingly allow an unsafe driver to use one of your cars. To avoid issues that could potentially harm your business, it’s important to make sure you have the proper insurance in the first place to deal with such unfortunate events.

Remember, each case is unique, so contact HURT-511 for more information on workers’ comp statute and our personal injury lawyers help injured workers recover the benefits to which they are entitled by law. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, call us toll-free at 800-4878-511 or complete our online form. Our firm handles accident and injury claims throughout all five boroughs of New York.

HURT-511 operates in all boroughs of New York including all Bronx neighborhoods, namely: Bedford Park, Belmont, Fordham, Highbridge, Hunts Point, Jerome Park, Kingsbridge, Morris Park, Morrisania, Mott Haven, Parkchester, Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Throgs Neck, University Heights and Woodlawn.

Liability for Lyft and Uber Accidents

Who is liable when an Uber driver causes a car accident that results in serious personal injuries? In most cases, injury victims should think about proceeding as they would in any other car accident case. In other words, you should be sure to collect the Uber driver’s personal contact information and insurance policy information. Just like in any other traffic collision, you should consult with a personal injury attorney who will likely file a claim against the Uber driver’s insurance company and any and all other parties responsible for the collision.

Generally speaking, Uber and Lyft drivers must have their own personal insurance policy when they are in their for-hire vehicles, including while they are driving paying passengers. The companies Uber and Lyft do provide $1,000,000 per accident of insurance coverage, but the amount available to passengers can vary with different factors. For instance, some insurance companies do not want to cover individual drivers who get into an accident when they are working as a “for-hire” driver. Therefore, in the situation in which the driver responsible for the accident was on the clock—such as working for a delivery company—the injury victims would ordinarily seek additional compensation from the employer.

However, Uber and Lyft argue that they are not “employers” when it comes to their drivers. Uber and Lyft emphasize that their drivers are independent contractors, which means that the company is not responsible for the driver’s behavior. As such, if injured passengers are not able to obtain full compensation through the driver’s personal insurance, they may have a difficult time filing a claim against one of these ride-sharing companies.

When confronted with a legal claim, Uber and Lyft will initially say their drivers are independent contractors and not employees, and therefore they are not necessarily responsible for the accident or any injuries. Either company will first tell you to contact the driver’s insurer about an accident, no matter the circumstances. If the ridesharing driver did not have the ride-hailing app on or had not been matched with a rider, the driver’s auto liability insurance should cover the accident claim.

Uber and Lyft drivers are required to have auto liability insurance, but they are not required to obtain a driving–for–hire endorsement, which is an extra cost. This gives the driver’s insurance company cover to deny an accident claim if the crash occurred while the ridesharing driver was on the clock working for Uber or Lyft at the time of the accident.

If the ridesharing driver was working, then your accident claim should be directed to the ridesharing company. Uber and Lyft have auto liability insurance that covers drivers who are involved in an accident while working as a driver for hire. Unfortunately, many injured individuals with valid claims will drop them once denied by the driver’s individual insurer.

Uber and Lyft maintain extensive insurance coverage, which theoretically makes appropriate payments readily available to riders and others injured in accidents their drivers cause. However, as a Washington Post report explains, Uber goes to great lengths to deny claims. In doing so, Uber not only protects its bottom line but also keeps drivers who have caused accidents on the road.

Remember, each case is unique, so contact HURT-511 for more information on workers’ comp statute and our personal injury lawyers help injured workers recover the benefits to which they are entitled by law. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, call us toll-free at 800-4878-511 or complete our online form. Our firm handles accident and injury claims throughout all five boroughs of New York.

HURT-511 operates in all boroughs of New York including all Bronx neighborhoods, namely: Bedford Park, Belmont, Fordham, Highbridge, Hunts Point, Jerome Park, Kingsbridge, Morris Park, Morrisania, Mott Haven, Parkchester, Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Throgs Neck, University Heights and Woodlawn.

google Trusted Reviews

From Our Clients

Stephanie De La Cruz
quote

I was an UBER passenger and the car got rear-ended by a utility van. I called 1-800-HURT-511 since a friend dealt with them before and I was glad I did. My attorney was extremely professional and aggressive when necessary. He was transparent from the start and didn’t complicate things unnecessarily.

Stephanie De La Cruz
Jordan Barnes
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Serious team effort from the entire staff to get my work injury case resolved quickly. They built a strong case and kept me in the loop for the duration. This team also delivered on two previous occasions and did it in a very cost-effective way. A faithful customer for life thank you!

Jordan Barnes
Kevin Diaz
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I highly recommend HURT-511! When the insurance companies turned me away after a scary scooter accident that nearly killed me, a lawyer at HURT-511 stayed and fought for me and recovered the entire policy! Their staff is well-informed and always available to answer my questions. They treated me like one of their own and I made the right decision to stick with them. Thank you so much!

Kevin Diaz
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