When the boss asks an employee to use the employee’s own vehicle for a business errand, the boss may offer the employee a few dollars for gas reimbursement, but insurance and liability concerns are seldom mentioned or even thought about.
Depending on an employee’s relationship with the boss and the company, using a personal vehicle for a company purpose may be a casual, routine practice. It works that way at plenty of workplaces in Idaho and this is where a Hayden car accident law firm can help.
WHO’S LIABLE IF YOU’RE INJURED – IN YOUR OWN CAR – WHILE WORKING?
But if a traffic collision happens while the employee – driving his or her own vehicle – is on company business, questions regarding insurance coverage and liability will emerge.
What liability does the employer have when an accident happens, and someone is injured in these circumstances? What are your rights if you are the person who’s been injured?
WHAT DOES YOUR PERSONAL AUTO INSURANCE ACTUALLY COVER?
Many people use their own vehicles for work. If you’re injured in an accident while you were working for your employer but driving your own vehicle, in some cases, coverage for liability follows the vehicle being driven.
This usually means that an employee’s personal vehicle insurance is the first place to turn for coverage involving property damage or personal injury to a third party caused by the employee’s negligent driving. But some personal auto insurance policies will not let you do that.
Auto insurance policies for privately-owned vehicles often do not cover injuries or damage to your own vehicle when it is used for business – even for something like delivering pizzas.
WHAT IS “HIRED AND NON-OWNED” COVERAGE?
Employers, therefore, should consider purchasing “Hired and Non-Owned” auto insurance, which provides liability coverage for bodily injuries or property damage an employee causes while driving his or her own vehicle on the employer’s business.
Hired and Non-Owned vehicle coverage applies to any vehicles that a business “hires” (like rental cars) as well as to any vehicles that the business doesn’t own (like an employee’s personal vehicle). Businesses can usually add this coverage to their general liability insurance.
Employees who drive for their employers should understand that even if the employer carries Hired and Non-Owned vehicle coverage, a driver can still be held personally and directly liable for any injuries or property damage the employee-driver may cause.
WERE YOU INJURED IN THE “COURSE AND SCOPE” OF YOUR JOB DUTIES?
When an employee is injured in a traffic accident during working hours – in any vehicle – if the employee was performing his or her job duties when the accident and injury happened, that employee may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
The problem is that employees who are injured while making deliveries or running errands may have to prove that they were, in fact, performing job duties when an accident occurred.
Let’s say that you’ve completed your deliveries for the day and you decide to drive through Starbucks on the way back to the job site. If you’re injured in a collision in the parking lot, you may not qualify for workers’ comp benefits, because you were not performing job duties.
WHAT IS COVERED BY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS?
If you are injured while working and you are in fact eligible for workers’ comp benefits, those benefits will cover your medical costs and partially replace your wages, but workers’ comp provides no coverage for property damage and no reimbursement for personal pain and suffering.
If an accident happens during your commute to or from work – or while you are driving to or from lunch – workers’ comp benefits may not be available. Workers’ comp is only for injuries that occur “on the clock” and in the “course and scope” of employment duties.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSULT A CAR CRASH LAWYER?
In any traffic accident – any traffic accident whatsoever – where you are injured because the other driver was negligent, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against that driver.
In Idaho, the injured victims of negligence are entitled by law to full compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, personal pain and suffering, and all other accident-and-injury-related losses and damages – but they’ll need an attorney’s help.
If you are injured by a negligent driver in this state, arrange at once to consult an experienced Hayden car accident attorney about your rights and your legal options, which may include filing and pursuing a personal injury claim.
HOW WILL AN ACCIDENT ATTORNEY HELP YOU?
A reliable accident attorney will investigate the accident, determine who was liable and which insurance policies apply, and then negotiate for the best possible settlement on your behalf.
These cases rarely go to trial – they’re usually resolved out-of-court – so if you’ve been seriously injured and you’re recuperating, you probably will not even have to make a court appearance.
Every accident – and every personal injury case – is different. As mentioned above, just driving through a Starbucks for coffee can entirely change the insurance and liability situation for an employee who uses his or her own car for an employer’s purposes.
IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED, WHY IS AN INJURY LAW FIRM’S HELP SO IMPERATIVE?
That’s why you’ll need the specific and personalized legal advice that an experienced Hayden car accident attorney can offer.
If you believe that you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits after an accident, apply for those benefits immediately. If you’ve been injured because another driver was negligent, you’ll need to speak with a personal injury attorney immediately.
If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, don’t wait to act. Your health and your future are too important.
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION?
Idaho’s statute of limitations gives the injured victims of negligence normally two years to take legal action, but you can’t wait two years if you’re injured, out of work, and your medical bills are piling up fast.
Moreover, there are a number of exceptions to the two years rule for negligence claims. For example, if you were injured by a vehicle owned or driven by a government employee, you will have to file an administrative claim within 180 days in order to preserve your right to sue.
Don’t even wait two weeks to speak with an attorney. Your attorney can review the case and recommend the best way to move forward with a workers’ comp claim and/or with a personal injury claim.
If you’ve been injured by negligence, a good lawyer’s help is your right, but you must take the first step – and make the call at once.