If you are involved in an accident and there are damages or injuries, the injured person can usually make a personal injury claim against the at-fault person or entity. But what if that accident happens at work? If you get into an accident while performing work duties, the insurance process can look a little different. In some cases, you may not need to notify your insurance company at all about the accident. In others, they might get involved.
When the Accident Happens in a Company Vehicle
If you are driving your employer’s company car or truck for work and you are at fault in an accident, the damages are typically covered by your employer’s commercial or business insurance policy.
This is known as vicarious liability, where the employer can be held liable for any negligence actions from their employees during work. Vicarious liability also gives an accident victim the right to sue your employer, instead of you, for damages. This helps protect you (and your insurance company) from getting involved in a lawsuit. This is a hard rule under Georgia law, and most employees are covered by vicarious liability.
So, if an accident happens while you’re on the clock, your employer will report the accident to their own insurance policy. If the damage is covered by the employer’s insurance, you won’t typically need to notify your own auto insurance about the accident.
That being said, if the responding officer wrote an accident report that included your information, the accident can show up on your driving record. If you change to a new insurance policy within three years of this accident, the collision can show up on your record and may affect your new policy rates. However, you won’t need to worry about this if you don’t switch insurance policies.
When the Accident Occurred in Your Own Car
If you are in your own vehicle when an accident occurs, the lines can be a little more blurred.
If you are driving your own vehicle but still on the clock and you cause an accident, that will typically fall under vicarious liability. Your employer will still be responsible for damages. This can apply even if you are performing work duties off premises.
Situations Where Your Own Insurance Could Apply
There are some circumstances where your employee is probably not liable for accident damages—meaning your own insurance will be responsible. For example, your own insurance policy may be responsible if you:
- Stop in the middle of your work duties to run a personal errand
- Were acting outside of your scope or employment
- Are off the clock and/or driving to or from work
- You are an Uber or Lyft driver and “on” the clock but not carrying a passenger
- Were violating company rules or acting recklessly at the time of the accident
Even in these situations, your employer’s insurance may still be liable because it could be argued they failed in their duty to properly screen, train, and supervise employees.
If your employer is claiming you’re responsible for damages from an accident during work hours, it’s best to contact a personal injury lawyer. They can help you sort out the details and make sure the claims are lawful.
Coverages for Your Own Injuries in a Work Accident
The above examples refer to accidents that led to other peoples’ injuries and that you were at fault for. But what if you are injured during an accident while at work?
If you suffered any type of injury at work, such as getting harmed by equipment or while driving a vehicle to perform the duties of your job, that would fall under a workers compensation claim. Workers compensation insurance goes through a policy your employer has purchased and does not involve your own insurance company at all.
To be eligible for workers comp insurance, you must have suffered a physical injury while performing job duties. Your employer must carry a workers comp policy if they have three or more employees (including the business’s owner).
In Georgia, workers compensation can cover damages like:
- Costs of doctor visits and all medical treatment for your injuries
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Temporary total disability benefits, if your doctor orders you to stop working for a certain amount of time
- Travel to and from medical appointments
Your Insurance is Rarely Involved in Work Accidents
Most of the time, if an accident occurs at work, your employer’s insurance or workers compensation policy will cover the damages. If you were in an accident while working and aren’t sure how to proceed, contact a workers compensation lawyer to go over the details.
At John Foy & Associates, we always offer a FREE initial consultation so you can get to know us and learn the best options for your case. With more than 20 years of experience in workers comp and personal injury cases, we can advise you on the best course of action. If you need help after a work-related accident, give us a call and we’ll discuss the details with you. For that free consultation, call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the online form on this page today.