Were you in a car or truck accident while driving for work?
Our Macon, GA attorneys can help ensure you get the full compensation you’re owed.
577 Mulberry St, Suite 600
Macon, GA 31201-8242
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Attorneys available on weekends by appointment
Being given a company vehicle to drive is a great benefit since it allows you to drive for work without causing wear and tear on your own personal vehicle. Perhaps your work vehicle has your company’s logo plastered on the side or perhaps it’s unmarked.
Delivery drivers, home service professionals, construction and utility workers all benefit by having access to a fleet of company vehicles.
But what happens if you get into an auto accident while driving a company vehicle? Who’s responsible for the damages? Most importantly, who’s responsible for paying for your injuries?
If you are asking these questions right now, know that you’re not alone. Car and truck accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States.
If you were injured while driving for work, don’t take your rights for granted. Take steps now to protect your right to compensation by contacting the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson. Our Macon workers’ compensation attorneys have represented hundreds of injured workers throughout the state for over 50 years. We can help you throughout the entire workers’ compensation process, and even file a third-party personal injury lawsuit on your behalf against the at-fault driver for additional compensation. We have the experience, knowledge and commitment to see your claim through to the end and secure the best possible outcome.
If you or your loved one were injured in a work-related car accident, call us today at 1-800-688-1651 or contact us online. From our offices in Macon, Albany and Warner Robins, we help clients statewide in Georgia and throughout the Southeast.
Work-related car accidents: who is responsible?
When 2 or more vehicles collide, typically the single most important legal issue is figuring out who was “at fault” or responsible for the crash. This process is known as determining liability, and it’s an essential step in most personal injury and auto accident cases. Crash scene investigators as well as insurance companies use all kinds of available evidence (police report, photos of the scene, witness testimony, etc.) to uncover what really happened and who/what caused the wreck.
Why not? Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that your employer must pay workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was responsible for the car accident. For instance, even if you made a mistake and wrecked the company van into another car, your employer (or more specifically, their insurance company) is responsible for paying not only for your work-related injuries but also any injuries or damage suffered by the other driver(s).
Under Georgia’s legal doctrine of respondeat superior (also known as “vicarious liability”), an employer can be held liable for the negligent behavior of its employees so long as the employee was driving “within the scope” of their job.
Georgia law states:
Every person shall be liable for torts committed by his wife, his child, or his servant by his command or in the prosecution and within the scope of his business, whether the same are committed by negligence or voluntarily.
– O.C.G.A. § 51-2-2
Liability really only matters in work-related car accidents if the other driver was responsible for your auto accident injuries and you wish to seek damages in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits. In such cases, you may need to prove fault in order to file a third-party claim and recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses.
Aside from the issue of fault, one of the biggest differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury is that accident victims can recover damages for pain and suffering through a personal injury claim, but NOT through workers’ compensation. For this reason, some accident victims who have suffered a catastrophic work injury while driving for work decide to sue a third party in addition to receiving workers’ compensation or disability benefits.
When is an auto accident work-related?
In order for a car accident to be considered “work-related” (and therefore qualify for workers’ compensation), it must have occurred while the driver was doing a task that falls within the course and scope of their employment.
Here are some examples of when a car or truck accident is covered by workers’ compensation, and when it is not:
- Running an errand for your boss or employer
- Making job-related deliveries
- Transporting another employee per your employer’s order
- Traveling for work when you don’t have a fixed office
- Driving to a work-related event or sales meeting
- Commuting to and from work (unless you are compensated for your travel time, in which case it might be covered after all)
- While on your lunch break
- Engaging in a criminal activity (such as drunk driving on the job)
- Going on a personal errand
Even though you generally aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation if you’re injured while on your lunch break or when commuting to and from your place of employment, there are some exceptions that may apply. For instance, if your boss asked you to pick up some office supplies on your way into work, and you are involved in a crash, then you might qualify for workers’ compensation benefits after all.
Every situation is unique, and sometimes determining whether the employee was engaged in a work-related task is complicated and contested. It’s important to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney near you if you were injured in the course and scope of employment but your boss says you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Don’t take your employer at their word.
Work-related car accidents statistics
According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S. In 2017, over 1,200 American workers driving or riding in a motor vehicle on a public road died in a work-related crash — accounting for a quarter of all work-related deaths. More than a third of long-haul truck drivers will experience a serious truck crash during their career. But these collisions aren’t just a danger to truck, taxi and bus drivers. Over half (55 percent) of the workers who died in auto accidents in 2017 were not employed in the transportation sector.
In addition to the devastating loss of life and the loss of ability for a person to work and provide for their families, these job-related auto accidents have a high financial cost on employers and employees alike. In 2013, work-related car crashes cost employers $25 billion — $65,000 per nonfatal injury and $671,000 per death.
Some of the most high-risk occupations for work-related motor vehicle accidents include:
- Truck drivers
- Bus driver
- Taxi-cab and rideshare drivers
- Deliver drivers
- Construction workers
- Grounds maintenance workers
- First responders (EMS, firefighters, police, etc.)
- Oil & gas workers
Workers’ compensation resources and links
- Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation
- Georgia Workers’ Compensation Employee Handbook
- Enjuris Guide to Workplace Accidents in Georgia
- The Danger of Working with Electricity
- How to file a workers’ compensation claim in Macon, GA
- Georgia workers’ compensation laws & requirements
- Georgia workers’ compensation benefits
- Why workers’ compensation claims are denied
- How to appeal a workers’ compensation denial
- Georgia workers’ compensation FAQ
- Compensation for agriculture workers
- Compensation for automotive workers
- Compensation for industrial workers
- Compensation for construction workers
- Compensation for independent contractors & freelancers
- Workers’ compensation mistakes to avoid
“Great staff. Very professional and knowledgeable. Staff went out of their way to accommodate us in every way possible. Made the whole process less painful. They made sure we understood everything that was going on and would answer any questions a hundred times over if needed.”
The resources needed to win
Unlike some work injury attorneys who settle all of their cases, we are not afraid to appeal a denied claim if needed. Our firm has the resources needed to thoroughly prepare, try and win complicated cases.
We are dedicated to doing everything legally and ethically possible to obtain the best results for our injured clients. Hard work and dedication have allowed us to recover millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.
Contact us for your free consultation with a Macon work injury attorney
As you can see, work-related car accident claims can be extremely complex and challenging. On the flip side, you may be able to pursue compensation from 2 different sources: workers’ compensation and personal injury. If you were hurt in a crash while on the job, it’s essential you contact a local attorney who specializes in both types of cases.
If you have questions, give us a call or contact us online for your free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer. From offices in Macon, Albany and Warner Robins, we help injured workers throughout Georgia. Don’t settle for less, get more.