If you get into a work-related accident while driving in Texas, it’s essential to know your rights. Whether you’re using a company vehicle or driving for work purposes, understanding what you’re entitled to is crucial. From who is responsible for the accident to the details of insurance coverage, having this knowledge helps you navigate the legal aspects, ensuring you receive the right compensation and support. Knowing your rights puts you in a better position to handle the aftermath of the accident and get the assistance you might need.
When company insurance doesn’t cover the accident
In the event of an accident while driving a commercial vehicle for work in Texas, an employer can be held liable for injuries, but there are limitations to this coverage. Company insurance, which your employer will likely have to cover any accidents their vehicles get into, may not cover situations where the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, committed a crime during the trip, was running personal errands, or was an independent contractor using their own vehicle. Employers often have specific company vehicle accident policies, and the details vary between businesses.
Worker’s compensation is not required in Texas
If the employer owns the vehicle being driven, the company’s insurance covers it. In cases where the employee causes an accident but the employer has workers’ compensation coverage (which is not mandatory for employers to have in Texas), the employee still receives benefits regardless of fault. The employer’s insurance compensates third-party claimants and protects the employee from being sued by them. However, if the employee’s negligence causes an accident in a commercial vehicle and the employer lacks workers’ comp coverage, the employee is responsible for their expenses.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage, while this means that they do not have to pay for your injuries sustained while on the clock, it does mean a few other things. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, if your employer does not offer workers’ compensation, you can file a lawsuit against them for your injuries.
For example, if the work vehicle you were driving caused your accident due to a malfunction caused by lack of maintenance, and you end up taking your employer to court, they do not have the right to argue that:
- Your (the employee’s) negligence caused the injury.
- Another employee’s negligence caused the injury.
- You knew about the danger and accepted it.
When to file a lawsuit
If a reckless driver hits you while you are driving on the job in San Antonio, you can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, and the driver’s liability insurance should cover damages. In the case where the car accident was caused by a malfunction of the car itself, employers may attempt to avoid blame, alleging employee irresponsibility, and may conduct drug testing or investigate the employee’s driving record after an accident to protect their finances. In these instances, filing a lawsuit against your employer may be the best step forward. In navigating these complexities, consulting a company car crash lawyer is advisable for wise negotiation and financial protection.
What to do after you’ve been in a car accident while driving for work
If you’ve been involved in a car accident while driving a company vehicle, here are some crucial steps to take:
- Ensure safety: Check for injuries and ensure everyone’s safety. If there are injuries, call for medical assistance immediately.
- Contact law enforcement: Report the accident to the police and cooperate with them. Obtain a copy of the police report.
- Exchange information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved. Include details such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance policy numbers.
- Document the scene: Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, license plates, and the surrounding area. This documentation can be valuable for insurance claims.
- Notify your employer: Inform your employer about the accident as soon as possible. Follow your company’s procedures for reporting accidents.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you don’t initially feel injured, it’s advisable to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
- Limit statements: Be cautious about what you say, especially admitting fault. Stick to the facts when discussing the accident with the police, the other parties involved, and your employer.
- Contact your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance company. Provide them with accurate and truthful information about the incident.
- Consult legal advice: If the situation becomes complex or if there are disputes, consider seeking legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities.
Remember, every accident is unique, and the steps you take can have implications for insurance claims and legal proceedings. Taking prompt and thorough action can help protect your interests in the aftermath of a crash involving a company vehicle.
Being in a car accident is complicated and stressful enough. When you are in an accident while driving for your job, the legal complexities can be even trickier. At the Law Offices of Pat Maloney, our legal team understands the intricacies of Texas law, and we know how to handle employer insurance issues. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced San Antonio car accident attorney, call us or use our contact form.
Pat Maloney, Jr. is a skilled San Antonio personal injury lawyer who has acted as lead counsel and co-counsel in many multi-million dollar verdicts throughout Texas. Pat Maloney represents people injured in car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and more. He is well known for his expertise in representing victims of serious personal injuries and has participated as a lecturer in the field of personal injury litigation. He has been named as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” Reference Book every year for the last five years.