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.
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.
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:
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.
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.