Individuals aren’t the only ones who rely on vehicles. Companies and businesses across New York utilize company vehicles to conduct business, transport clients, and deliver documents and packages. Unfortunately, when you are involved in an accident with a company car, the claim process to recover the compensation you deserve can get overwhelming and complicated. Who pays for an accident involving a company car in New York?
At Finz & Finz, P.C., we want to help you understand New York’s car insurance regulations and how an accident with a company vehicle may impact the claim process.
Who’s On the Hook for a Company Car Crash?
Typically, company cars are vehicles a company uses during business hours to complete company-related tasks. Delivery trucks are among the most common types of company vehicles. However, company fleet vehicles can complete various tasks, such as driving VIPs to and from the airport, transporting documents to clients, or providing workers with transportation to complete business-related errands and tasks.
What happens when you are a driver who was injured in an accident with someone else’s company vehicle? New York observes the legal concept of vicarious liability, which is based on New York’s respondeat superior doctrine. That means the employer is responsible for the acts of its employees. In the case of an accident caused by an employee driving a company vehicle on company time, the employer would be responsible for losses resulting from the crash.
However, there are exceptions. If an employee’s reckless or illegal actions are to blame for causing the accident, that person may be responsible for the resulting damages. Examples of behavior that could make the employee liable following a New York car accident in a company vehicle include:
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Impaired driving
Additionally, if an employee uses a company vehicle for personal business while not on the clock, they may also be held responsible for the financial consequences of a collision.
But suppose you’re driving a company vehicle on company time and are injured in a crash caused by a mechanical defect or failure in the vehicle. In that case, your company may bear responsibility for compensating you for your financial losses if they fail to maintain the vehicle properly.
Workers’ Compensation for Company Car Accidents
Were you on work-related business on company time when the accident occurred? New York workers’ compensation insurance could cover you. In New York, workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory for most employers in the state. Workers’ compensation helps protect workers injured at work by covering medical expenses and paying partial wages while an employee is on the mend and unable to work. Workers’ compensation coverage may also extend permanent disability benefits, temporary disability benefits, or death benefits, depending on the situation.
While a car accident on company time while completing company-related business may qualify you to pursue workers’ compensation benefits, being involved in an accident commuting to work is unlikely to be covered.
Compensation Through a Third-Party Personal Injury Lawsuit
Beyond company insurance or workers’ compensation claims, you may also be able to pursue compensation for your financial losses after a company car accident by filing a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault third party. Was your company truck loaded incorrectly by a third-party loading company? Maybe a defective vehicle part caused the collision? You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a company or individual to obtain money for your medical expenses and mental anguish.
Individuals involved in New York car accidents may file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault party if they have used up all the money in their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy and their injuries meet New York’s serious injury threshold. New York law defines a “serious” injury as an injury that meets the following criteria:
- Bone fractures
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent limitation of a body system or limb
- Significant disfigurement
- Significant limitation of the use of a body part or organ system
Serious injuries may also include a medically determined wound or impairment that is not permanent but prevents a person from performing substantially all of their daily activities for no less than ninety days during 180 days immediately following an accident.
Filing a lawsuit against a third party following an accident in a company vehicle can be challenging. For help understanding your legal rights, talk to an experienced New York car accident attorney.
Why You Need a Knowledgeable New York Car Accident Attorney to Handle Your Case
Pursuing fair compensation following an accident in a company car may be difficult, especially if you’ve sustained severe injuries. Chances are, your company is a for-profit entity, just like their insurance company. Companies succeed by keeping profit margins high and expenses, like payouts, low. Working with an experienced New York company car accident lawyer can mean the difference between getting lowballed and getting the money you deserve.
At Finz & Finz, P.C., our personal injury attorneys work with you to gather the evidence necessary to build a solid claim, seeking fair compensation for your injuries and lost wages. We offer effective and personalized legal services and can manage communication between you and the insurer, investigate the cause of the crash, identify all liable parties, and negotiate for maximum compensation. We keep your case on track and update you as your claim progresses. You are free to focus on your recovery, knowing your claim is in the hands of a firm that has recovered over $1 billion for our deserving clients over the years.
Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. Today for Help with Your Company Car Accident Claim
Have you been injured in a New York company car accident? Don’t wait to secure the legal representation you need. Discuss the specifics of your situation with an experienced company car accident lawyer from Finz & Finz, P.C. Our highly respected team has more than 35 years of experience handling complicated personal injury claims and cases. We have a long track record of producing results and achieving favorable client verdicts and settlements.
Contact our New York office today to arrange a free consultation. We can thoroughly review the circumstances of the company car accident and provide valuable legal insight into your unique situation.