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What Happens if I Crash the Company Car? 

Company Car

Being in a car accident with the company car involves sorting out issues that do not arise after other car accidents. Figuring out which insurance policy or program covers what losses and how to process claims can be confusing.  The outcome will be based on the circumstances under which the accident happened, what caused the accident, and how the state where the accident took place regulates car insurance claims.

When Did the Accident Happen?

Companies allow their employees to use company cars to conduct company business. Employee drivers who are injured while performing company business are entitled to file a claim for Workers’ Compensation if they are injured in the car accident and miss work because of it.

Not all accidents involving company vehicles are covered under Workers’ Compensation insurance programs.  It is important to determine whether the crash happened while the driver was performing a work-related task.  This can vary according to the driver’s job.  Examples include the following:

  • Making a delivery
  • Running a work-related errand
  • Driving another employee for business purposes
  • Driving from one worksite to another
  • Other work-related travel

Travel during commuting times and for lunch are not work-related tasks. Even if the company provides the car as a perk to use for commuting, the time it takes for commuting is not considered a work-related task.  There may be an exception if the worker is based remotely and the company policy is to pay employees for travel home.

Accidents that occur while the driver is using the car for running non-work-related errands or social encounters happen when the employee driver is not conducting company business.  A worker involved in car accident under these circumstances does not qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. However, a car insurance claim might be successful.

Who Caused the Accident?

If the employee driver caused the accident and is injured and missed work, if the accident occurred while conducting company business, he or she will still qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits.  Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault program and compensates injured workers even if they caused the accident.  There may be a limited exception if the employee driver intentionally caused the accident.

Can an Injured Worker File Multiple Claims?

Car insurance policies cover costs of personal and property injury according to the policy terms.  It is possible to file both a Workers’ Compensation claim and a third-party claim against the other driver.  The possibility of filing the third-party claim may depend on who caused the accident.  States vary in how they regulate car insurance.  Some states have no-fault options in which recovery does not require proof of fault.  Other states require proof of fault to recover benefits, in which case, the employee driver can get compensation only if they prove the third party caused the accident.  These cases involve close scrutiny by the third party’s insurance company. In addition, some states are entitled to reimbursement for a share of the award of damages received as compensation from a car insurance company.

Exton Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Work to Ensure Clients Receive the Benefits They Deserve

Workers’ Compensation insurance programs are set up to provide financial benefits to workers and cover partial costs of missed work, medical expenses, and other costs.  There are strict reporting and filing timelines that must be met to avoid being disqualified from the program.  Further, not getting a medical evaluation according to program requirements can result in delays or challenges to an application for benefits.  The experienced Exton Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC understand the process and work to ensure its clients can qualify for all benefits to which they are entitled.  Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation today. We are located in Exton, Pennsylvania, and we serve residents of Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.