Your workday can become stressful when a car accident interrupts your routine. What happens if you have an accident in a company car? You may be hurt, face a reprimand at work, and worry about paying bills.
Most people know how to handle a car accident involving their own vehicle. Accident victims usually take straightforward steps, like calling the police and making an insurance claim. However, many workers aren’t sure what to do when they crash a company vehicle.
Here, we give an overview of things you should know when you experience a car accident in a company vehicle. For advice tailored to your circumstances, contact our experienced car accident attorneys at the Francis Firm for a free consultation.
Steps to Take at the Accident Scene
A car crash catches you off guard and can leave you feeling dazed and confused. If you are able, it’s important to take these steps at the scene of the accident:
- Call police and paramedics;
- Answer police questions (consulting your attorney if needed);
- Exchange driver license and insurance information with the other driver;
- Notify your employer of the accident;
- Take photos of the damage to both cars and the accident scene; and
- Get names and contact information of witnesses to the accident.
If you are injured and unable to complete these tasks, you can ask a trusted friend for help. The more evidence you have from the accident scene, the better you can tell your side of events.
What Causes Company Car Crashes?
Company car accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. From bad weather to negligent drivers, many things affect road safety. If you have been blamed for your company car crash, a lawyer may be able to show that it wasn’t all your fault. Our experienced investigators can attempt to discover all the factors that caused your car accident.
Who Is at Fault for Your Accident?
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that multiple parties may be responsible for your accident damages. For instance, imagine that you were texting and driving when a drunk driver ran a stop sign that was obscured beneath tree limbs. In this messy situation, you, the city, and the drunk driver shared fault for the accident. However, you would likely be found less at fault than the drunk driver.
If you are 50% or less at fault for the accident, you can recover from the other parties based on their percentage of fault. For instance, in the example above, let’s imagine you sustained $100,000 worth of damages, and the drunk driver was found to be 75% at fault for the accident. In that case, you could recover up to $75,000 from the drunk driver.
Were You on the Job?
Whether or not you were “on the job” when the wreck happened has a significant financial impact on your car crash recovery. If you were driving a company vehicle after work hours, your company usually cannot be held responsible for your injuries. There may be exceptions to this rule, such as when a mechanical problem on a company-maintained car caused your accident.
However, if you were on the job when your accident occurred, your company bears more liability for your accident. In that case, you may be able to recover from your company’s auto insurance policy as well as their workers’ compensation insurance.
Who Pays the Medical Bills?
When you have an accident in a work vehicle, who pays the medical bills? You have several options for medical payments, depending on the details of your accident:
- When the other driver is at fault and insured, their insurance pays the bills; and
- When you are at fault and on the job, workers’ compensation should pay for medical treatment.
What happens if the other driver is at fault but lacks insurance? In that case, your company may have uninsured motorist coverage that would pay your bills. You could file under your own policy, though you might guess that an accident in a company car affects your personal insurance with higher premiums. You also have the option of suing the other driver.
Can You Get Fired?
Besides worrying about your physical injuries and medical bills, you may stress about your job security. Can you get fired for wrecking a company car?
The answer depends on the circumstances of the car accident in a company vehicle. Generally, your employer can’t fire you for pursuing an insurance or workers’ compensation claim. However, your employer might fire you if you were breaking a law or company policy at the time of the accident or if you can no longer do your job.
Texas is an at-will employment state, which gives employers broad ability to fire their employees. However, there are federal protections for employees, such as those under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you are worried about losing your job due to your accident, you should contact an experienced attorney.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
After a work car wreck, you might feel overwhelmed and worried about how to pay your bills. On top of these concerns, you might not understand the complicated overlapping laws that apply to your accident damages.
Our attorneys can evaluate and explain the laws that apply to your accident, which might include:
- Negligence law,
- Workers’ compensation,
- Employment law,
- Federal disability law, and
- Insurance law.
If the circumstances of your accident are unclear, we can use an experienced investigator to discover what happened. We will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and hire experts if needed to help us prove your claim.
Then we will talk with you about your goals for resolving your accident damages. Whether you are seeking to have your job back or to obtain money to pay medical bills, we will fight for what you need.
Contact Our Accident Attorneys for a Consultation
If you are suffering after a workplace accident, you should contact our experienced attorneys at the Francis Firm for a free consultation. Founding partner, attorney Michael Francis, is Board Certified in personal injury by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
When you meet with us, you can share the details of your accident, and we will evaluate your legal options. Then we’ll get to work advocating for the compensation you need. We work on contingency, meaning you won’t pay us anything until we win your case. Contact us today to get started on your claim.