Who is Responsible for Work-Related Auto Accidents?

There are a lot of different occupations in which people either drive for a living or spend a large portion of their work hours behind the wheel. In these occupations, work-related auto accidents are fairly common. A good number of these accidents result in injuries, some of which can be serious and even catastrophic.

Whether you are a worker who was injured in a car crash while on the job or someone who was injured due to the negligence of an occupational driver, you need experienced legal counsel in your corner working hard to get you the compensation you deserve. At Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., we have over five decades of experience successfully representing personal injury claimants.

Insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible for your injuries, and we know the common tactics that they use to try to accomplish this goal. We routinely go up against well-funded adversaries such as large insurance carriers, and we push back aggressively against them to secure the most favorable outcome possible on your behalf. Contact our office today for a free consultation with a member of our legal team.

Vicarious Liability

When there is a car accident involving a driver who is at work, the employer is usually responsible for any negligence on the part of their employee (that led to the accident) under the legal theory known as “vicarious liability”. Vicarious liability applies to instances in which an employee causes damages to another person or party during the course of performing their work duties.

For example, if a pizza company driver crashes into a vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian while on their way to make a delivery, then liability for the accident would fall on the employer. The same would hold true for a commercial truck driver who is employed by a trucking company and causes an accident while hauling a load for the employer.

On a related note, there is sometimes a question over whether a commercial driver is an employee or an independent contractor. Naturally, the company that the driver contracts with will want to evade responsibility for any accident the driver gets into by claiming the latter. But just because a company says that a driver is an independent contractor, that does not necessarily mean that it is true.

This has been shown in recent years with ridesharing drivers. In the beginning, companies like Uber and Lyft claimed that they were independent contractors, but now they are required to carry insurance on their drivers while they are transporting a passenger or they are on the way to pick one up.

Was the Auto Accident Work-Related?

When an employee gets into a car accident, there is sometimes a question over whether or not the accident happened while they were on the job. There are times when it is pretty clear that an employee is not yet working, such as when they are commuting to their place of employment before starting work or commuting home after their shift ends. There are other times, however, when the lines can get blurred.

For example, what if the employer asks the employee to make a delivery to a customer or client while on the way home? If an accident were to occur on the way to the delivery location, this would most likely be a case in which the employer is responsible.

Going the other way, what about cases in which an employee takes a couple hours off during the middle of the workday to do some personal shopping? If an accident happened in this scenario, the employee might end up being the one responsible.

Third Party Liability for Work-Related Vehicle Accidents

When an employee gets injured in a work-related car accident, they will usually look first to their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance to get compensated for their medical bills and a portion of their lost earnings. But in cases like these, there are often outside parties that could be responsible for the accident.

Other drivers often share at least some liability for car accidents that injure occupational drivers. And under Georgia law, as long as the occupational driver is less than 50% at fault, they would be allowed to collect damages from an at-fault driver. This can include reimbursement for losses that are not covered by workers’ compensation, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.

In addition to the drivers involved, there are a number of other parties that could hold some responsibility for a work-related vehicle crash. These may include:

  • The designer, manufacturer, and/or distributor of a defective or dangerous vehicle or vehicle part.
  • The mechanic or auto repair shop that was hired to fix or maintain the vehicle.
  • The party who is responsible for safely maintaining the roadways or parking areas where the accident occurred.

Injured in a Work-Related Auto Accident in Georgia? Contact Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. for Legal Help

If you or a loved one got injured in a vehicle accident at work or you were injured in an accident involving an occupational driver, Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. is ready to go to work for you. Call our Atlanta office today at 678-981-5370 or message us online to set up your free, no obligation consultation.