Car accidents are always stressful but being in a company vehicle takes the stress to an entirely new level. Not only do you have to worry about the injuries you may have suffered; you also have to wonder if you’ll be liable for the damage caused and if your job will be affected.
The first thing to do is take a deep breath and learn more about your options. To discuss your legal options after a collision in a company vehicle, call Peake & Fowler at 803-788-4370.
It All Depends on Liability
Everything comes down to who is liable for the accident. This is determined in a number of ways. First, the police report for the accident should contain information about any citations given out at the scene of the accident. This may point to wrongdoing by one or both parties.
From there, both insurance companies do their own investigations to see who they think is liable for the collision. Your company may ask for evidence to help their insurance company make an informed decision.
You should be ready to tell them your account of events, what led up to the crash, what injuries you have suffered, and any other relevant information. You may also have to provide medical bills or records.
If You Are Liable
If it comes out that you caused the accident, everything will go through your company’s insurance. They will likely negotiate the terms of a settlement with the injured party directly, accounting for property damage, medical bills, and other expenses. While you may find out how it all ends from your company, many companies prefer to keep this information private.
When people find out that they are liable for an accident in a company vehicle, they often panic about what this means for their own finances. However, this is not something you should worry about. The employer’s insurance company will handle everything, just as your personal insurance company would if you caused an accident.
If the Other Driver is Liable
Everything can feel a little complicated if the other driver is liable for the accident. First, note that you may receive workers’ compensation if you were injured in a company vehicle. This is standard. However, if the other party was liable, you may also have a personal injury claim against them. You should consult an attorney and discuss your options.
If you do pursue a personal injury claim, know that everything paid to you by workers’ compensation will likely be paid back to them from your settlement. You cannot get paid twice for medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs.
Many people think they can negotiate a fair settlement on their own in this type of situation. Please don’t make this mistake. The other driver’s insurance company has a vested interest in minimizing or denying your payment. Anything you tell them, no matter how truthful, can be used to lower your settlement offer. Speak with an attorney before having any contact with the other party’s insurance company.
How Your Job May Be Affected
While your company cannot force you to pay the expenses of an accident you caused, causing an accident can have an impact on your career. Much depends on the protocols of your company and how much leeway they give employees.
Some companies take these matters very seriously and terminate employees for causing a crash in a company vehicle. However, most companies are more understanding and don’t penalize employees unless they cause multiple crashes.
Of course, it’s a bit different if you could have avoided the accident. If you fell asleep behind the wheel or were chemically impaired at the time of the accident, for example, that may be a sign of poor judgment that your company considers a red flag. In these situations, you should be prepared to deal with severe consequences.
The Team at Peake & Fowler is Here for You
Figuring out what to do after a car crash in a company vehicle is difficult, but we are here to help. If you suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Find out your legal rights and options by scheduling a consultation with us now. Call us at 803-788-4370 or reach out online to get started.