Vehicle Related Accidents While at Work

Traffic accidents happen everyday. Whether they are minor or severe, they can have long-term effects on the occupants of the vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 2.3 million people were injured in traffic accidents in 2013. For those individuals, the pain and headache of dealing with the aftermath of an accident are substantial.
Auto accidents that happen while on the job bring with them some additional complexities. Many questions arise from these types of accidents, such as:

  • Whose insurance company is liable to the injured parties?
  • Can I make a workers’ compensation claim?
  • I was driving my own car for company business, who will pay for it?

These are just a few of the questions that can arise if you have been involved in an auto accident while on the job. The answers can sometimes be as complex as the questions. It’s important to know what questions to ask, and how the answers affect you and your loved ones. An experienced accident injury attorney can help make this process less of a nightmare for you. The attorneys and staff at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, P.C. will help make a difficult situation easier.

Who is Liable for Injuries and Property Damage?

One of the first questions that arise in any accident is: Who is liable?

Generally speaking, if an employee is driving a company or personal vehicle, on company business, the legal doctrine of respondeat superior comes into play. Under this doctrine, if the employee is “acting within the scope of his/her employment” then the employer is legally responsible for the employee’s actions.

An employee may be acting within the scope of his or her employment while driving the company vehicle for things like:

  • Making deliveries;
  • Driving to and from off-site jobs;
  • Driving to and from work (if arranged with the employer);
  • Using the company or personal vehicle for other employer-sanctioned job duties;
  • If the commute to and from work is paid for by the employer.

Special considerations must be made if the employee was negligent in causing an accident. Not only may the employer be held liable, but the employee may also be held liable for the accident. In most cases, the employer’s liability insurance policy will cover the claims against the employer and may indemnify the employee as well.

The employer’s liability insurance may pay for damages and pain and suffering.

I Was Injured in a Car Accident While at Work – Can I Make a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Yes. Workers’ compensation does cover an employee who is injured while driving a company or personal vehicle within the scope of his or her employment. Workers’ compensation can be used to reimburse:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Out of pocket expenses; and
  • Lost wages;
  • Future Loss Wage Earning Capacity.

Workers’ compensation does not pay out damages for pain and suffering or for property damage.

I Was Driving My Own Car For Company Business, Who Will Pay For It?

If you were driving your own vehicle and were involved in an accident while performing duties for your employer, such as picking up supplies on the way to work, you are entitled to make a claim for workers’ compensation and a claim against the employer’s liability insurance policy.

If a third party caused the accident, you may make a claim against their liability insurance policy if you can prove that they were at fault for the accident.

It is important to note that, while you may have the ability to make claims against multiple parties, you may be limited in the amount that you recover due to issues of subrogation. This is a tricky area of law that can best be explained by an experienced auto accident injury attorney. The attorneys at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, P.C. have the knowledge, experience, skill, reputation and resources to fight for you and get you the money and benefits you are entitled.

How Long Do I Have To Bring A Claim For My Injuries?

The time that you have to bring a claim for your injuries depends on whom you are making the claim against. This deadline is referred to as the “statute of limitations.” In New York, the statute of limitations to bring a civil suit against a third party for negligence is three years from date of the injury. If you fail to bring a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you may lose the right to do so. The statute of limitations to bring a Workers’ Compensation claim is two (2) years from the date of accident.

If you are making a claim against your employer’s workers’ compensation plan, you must do so more quickly. In many cases you should to notify your employer of your injuries within 24 hours of the injury. However, if you fail to notify your employer within thirty (30) days, your claim may be disallowed.

Special care must also be made if you are involved in an accident involving a government agency. If you plan to make a claim against the government for your injuries, you must first provide a notice of claim against the government entity within 90 days of the date of the injury. You must also file suit against the government agency within one year and ninety days from the date of injury, if the claim is not resolved to your satisfaction prior to that time.


Whether your on-the-job auto accident injury involves Workers’ Compensation or a third-party personal injury claim, the attorneys at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, P.C. can help with your workplace injury case. We understand New York State labor laws and know how to best protect your rights so you recover the money and benefits you deserve. Contact us today at 1-877-737-4806 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!

Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C.
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