Company Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Company Vehicle Accident Lawyer
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Company Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Car accidents occur due to many different reasons, but when they involve a company vehicle, things can get a little bit complicated. The good news is that you don't have to navigate these complexities alone; an experienced company vehicle accident lawyer might be able to help. If you or a loved one is a victim of a company vehicle accident, fill out this form to have your case reviewed by a member of our legal team.
Why You Need a Lawyer for a Company Vehicle Accident Case
As mentioned, these cases are not usually among the easiest to handle. A good example of a complex scenario you may bump into is when you need to determine who is at fault. Just to give you some perspective, both the company and the employee driving the vehicle may deny responsibility. This will only lead to a lengthy legal process you don't want to go through without the required knowledge and skills.
For example, think of a situation where an employee causes an accident while using a company car for personal reasons. In such a case, the employer could easily argue that they are not liable since the employee was not acting within the course and scope of their employment. That argument alone could raise serious questions about who then should be held responsible for the accident.
Keep in mind that some employers may require clients to sign waivers before using their company vehicles. The goal of these waivers is to limit the company's liability. So, even though you may have been injured in the accident, the fact that the employee who caused the accident signed a waiver could hurt your chances of recovering full compensation for your injuries, especially without an attorney in the picture.
Then there is also the issue of comparative negligence, where multiple parties may share the blame. If you're a victim, your compensation may be reduced based on your own degree of fault for the accident. For example, let's say the driver of the company vehicle was using their phone when they hit your car just as you turned onto a main road. Further down the line, investigators discover that you did not have the right of way to turn in the first place. In that case, you may be held partially responsible, meaning that your claim for damages may be reduced accordingly.
In cases where the injured party is a pedestrian or another driver involved in an accident with a company vehicle, they may still face blame for the incident. Insurance companies and legal teams representing the company may attempt to shift fault onto the injured party, arguing that they were somehow responsible for the accident. This can further complicate the case and make it difficult for the injured party to receive fair compensation.
Common Causes of Accidents Caused By a Company Vehicle
Distracted driving, which includes the use of mobile phones, eating, drinking, or adjusting in-vehicle technologies while driving, can divert the company driver's attention and increase the risk of an accident. To emphasize the prevalence of distracted driving, , the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2021 alone at least 3,522 people died due to distracted driving.
Some of these accidents also occur due to fatigue when drivers work long hours and do not take adequate rest breaks. We've also witnessed cases where company vehicles have caused accidents due to drivers operating vehicles above the speed limit or too fast for road conditions. This is because speeding reduces the driver's ability to control the vehicle, which can also be dangerous, especially when operating large vehicles such as trucks and semis.
Even though most companies usually have policies in place regarding their driver's code of conduct on public roads, behaviors such as aggressive driving, tailgating, frequent lane changes, and disregarding traffic rules are still quite common. Sadly, they're also among the leading causes of accidents involving company vehicles.
Company drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or certain medications are also more prone to accidents. The same applies to drivers who do not undergo sufficient training in vehicle operations, safety protocols, or defensive driving techniques.
In an attempt to cut costs, some companies tend to neglect routine maintenance, such as brake inspections and tire checks, or fail to address mechanical issues promptly, hoping they'll just fade away. But that's not how these machines work. Without routine care and maintenance, the risk of accidents significantly increases.
Other common causes of these kinds of accidents include adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, ice, or fog, ignoring safety protocols, and a lack of proper supervision or monitoring of employees' driving habits.
A Lawyer's Role In Determining Liability in a Company Vehicle Accident Case
To obtain compensation for your injuries after an accident involving a company vehicle, you'll first need to solve the puzzle of liability. No party will intentionally come out to claim responsibility for the accident, and that's because they'll need to compensate you for your injuries and damages if they are responsible.
However, If the accident occurred due to the negligent actions of the employee driving the company vehicle, you might be able to hold them personally liable. A good example of such a situation is if the employee was driving recklessly or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Under these circumstances, you may be able to file a claim against the employee's personal insurance.
In most of these cases, liability tends to fall on the employer. Also known as "vicarious liability" or "employer liability," this kind of liability comes into play if the actions of their employees harmed you. However, for such a claim to be valid, you must prove that the employee was acting within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the accident.
Still on the employer's liability, they may also be directly liable if they were negligent in the process of hiring or training the said employee who caused the accident. Take for example a situation where the company hires someone with a history of reckless driving or fails to provide proper training on safe driving practices. That's enough reason to hold the company liable because, legally, the employer has a duty to exercise reasonable care in selecting and preparing their employees for their job responsibilities.
Another scenario that could unfold is if the accident was caused by a defect in the company vehicle. The manufacturer or maintenance providers could be held liable. But for such a claim to work, you'll likely need an experienced defective product attorney to work closely with a car accident lawyer and experts in the automobile industry to establish liability.
It's also possible to hold other parties liable, such as government entities, especially if the accident was caused by poor road conditions or inadequate signage. Similarly, a third-party contractor or subcontractor involved in the maintenance or operation of the company vehicle might bear some responsibility if they were negligent at some point and contributed to the accident.
How Compensation for Accidents Caused By Company Vehicles Works
The specifics of the accident will ultimately decide how and where to file for compensation. One common scenario in these kinds of cases is when a company employee gets injured in an accident involving a company vehicle. They could be the delivery driver or anyone else working for the company.
That's where the employer's workers' compensation insurance kicks in. This form of insurance provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses, even if they are at fault for the accident.
In other words, workers' compensation insurance follows a no-fault system, just as long as the accident did not occur due to extreme negligence or recklessness, such as drinking alcohol while on shift. The goal of this kind of insurance is to protect workers by providing them with medical treatment, wage replacement, and other necessary benefits, while also protecting employers from potential lawsuits related to workplace injuries.
The other option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the company. This applies under different scenarios, such as when the victim is not a company employee. They could be a pedestrian, passenger, or driver in the other vehicle involved in the accident.
Another important thing to note is that although workers' compensation insurance protects employers against lawsuits, certain situations may warrant the need for legal action. For example, if the employer intentionally harms the employee, the latter may be able to sue the employer outside the workers' compensation framework.
Damages Available to Victims of Accidents Caused By Company Vehicles
Now, let's discuss the kind of damages you may be able to recover if you have a valid case against the other party. Again, it depends on whether you are an employee of the company or a third party, such as a pedestrian, driver, or passenger of the vehicle that was involved in the accident.
If you are an employee injured while operating a company vehicle, you may be eligible to file a workers' compensation claim and recover your medical expenses and lost wages.
On the other hand, as a pedestrian, driver, or passenger in the other vehicle involved in an accident caused by a company vehicle, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the company to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages if you are unable to work, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages resulting from the accident.
A wrongful death attorney from Morgan and Morgan might also be able to help you recover damages if you lost a loved one in an accident caused by a company vehicle. Some of these benefits may include funeral expenses, lost financial support the deceased would have provided had they been alive, loss of consortium, and others.
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What Should I Do if I Was Injured in a Company Vehicle Accident?
Because each case is different, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to these kinds of accidents. Nevertheless,, no matter the circumstances, here are some critical steps to take.
First, call 911 and request immediate medical attention if you've suffered serious injuries. Make sure to request a police officer at the scene as well. The officer will write a report detailing what happened, who was at fault based on their opinion, any citations issued, and witnesses, among other critical details.
Remember to seek medical attention even if your injuries don't seem that serious at that particular moment. Injuries such as internal bleeding can cause serious damage or even lead to death, but you won't know about it until you get checked by a car accident doctor near you.
If possible, gather as much evidence as possible about the accident, from photos, videos, documentation, and medical receipts, to anything that could prove valuable to your case.
Lastly, contact Morgan and Morgan for a free case evaluation.
Can I Still Recover Compensation if I'm Partly at Fault for the Company Vehicle Accident?
Yes, in most cases, you can. But it depends on the jurisdiction and the particularities of your specific case. Some states allow the injured to recover damages even if they are partly at fault for the accidents. Others may allow recovery but only if the plaintiff's percentage of fault did not exceed a certain threshold, usually 50 to 51 percent. Finally, some states may completely bar recovery if the plaintiff was responsible, even by one percent.
How Long Do I Have To File a Claim With the Insurance Company?
Again, it depends on the jurisdiction. In most states, you'll have between two to four years to pursue compensation. Your car accident attorney will let you know about any deadlines you should be concerned about and also help you beat them to avoid jeopardizing your case.
Can I Go to Court if the Other Party Refuses To Settle?
Yes, filing a lawsuit is always an option if the other party offers a lowball settlement or refuses to cooperate. When you contact us for a free case evaluation and decide to work together to hold the other party accountable, we'll discuss the best legal strategy to pursue, whether negotiating out of court or presenting the case before a judge or jury.
Let a Company Vehicle Accident Lawyer From Morgan and Morgan Fight for You
At Morgan and Morgan, you can count on our company vehicle accident lawyer to fight for your best interests after such a devastating accident. That's because we have the resources, experience, and a proven history of winning car accident cases, big and small. So no matter your circumstances, all you need is a free case evaluation with our legal representatives. Contact us now for more information.