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What Happens if You Get in a Car Accident in a Company Car?   

April 20, 2023Auto Accident

If you get into a car accident while driving a company car, it can be difficult to understand your legal options for pursuing a financial recovery. You could be eligible for financial benefits through a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury lawsuit, or both. Knowing how to navigate the claims process after a company car accident can help you protect your rights as much as possible.

How Does Colorado’s Workers’ Compensation System Work?

All 50 states have some version of a workers’ compensation system. This is a no-fault insurance policy that offers financial coverage to injured workers without requiring proof of someone else’s fault. Under Colorado’s workers’ compensation system, an injured employee can file an insurance claim and receive benefits for medical expenses, partial lost wages and disability regardless of whether someone was at fault for the injury. All employers in Colorado with one or more employees must purchase workers’ compensation insurance.

You will be eligible to file a workers’ comp claim if you suffer any type of occupational injury or illness, meaning harm suffered in the course and scope of employment. This includes while driving a company car for work-related purposes. You or your attorney will need to prove that you were performing job-specific duties at the time of the company car accident, however. Examples include traveling to a work meeting, driving to an off-site job, making a delivery, operating a commercial truck and transporting passengers for work.

Time spent driving to and from work (your commute) is generally not covered as work-related periods. If you get into a car accident during your commute, you typically will not be eligible for workers’ comp benefits even if you were driving a company vehicle. If your employer was benefitting from your actions at the time of the crash, however, such as if you were on your way to pick up a coffee for your boss, this could qualify you for workers’ comp coverage.

Determining Liability for a Colorado Company Car Accident

Colorado is an at-fault car accident state. This means if another person or party is to blame for your work vehicle accident, you have the power to seek financial compensation from this person. Many potential parties could be named as defendants in your car accident claim, including:

  • Your employer: if the company vehicle you were driving was in a state of disrepair due to poor maintenance by the company, you may have grounds to bring a claim against your employer.
  • Another driver: the other driver involved in your crash may be financially responsible for acts of negligence such as texting and driving, speeding, drunk driving, or drowsy driving.
  • Maintenance crew: a company vehicle breakdown due to mistakes or negligence by the team in charge of auto repairs could lead to the maintenance crew being held liable.
  • Cargo or shipping company: a commercial truck crash that was caused by an imbalanced cargo load, poorly secured cargo or a lost load could be the fault of the shipping company.
  • Vehicle manufacturer: an auto accident caused by a defective motor vehicle part in a company car could lead to a product liability claim against the automaker or vehicle designer.

Note that you cannot sue your employer for a company car accident caused by the company’s negligence after you have already accepted a workers’ compensation settlement. This is why it is important to discuss your options with a car accident attorney before signing anything.

What to Do After an Accident in a Company Car

A car crash in a company vehicle can inflict serious injuries, including brain damage or a spinal cord injury, that affect you for life. Do not underestimate the value of your claim or rush into a fast insurance settlement. Your financial future could be at stake. Instead, contact an attorney at Dormer Harpring, LLC to request a free case consultation. We will carefully review your case and help you understand your rights at no cost or obligation.