Workers in California’s booming biotechnology industry and other professionals often enjoy many company perks, one of which may include using a company vehicle to travel for business purposes. However, just like any other motorist, it’s possible for a worker driving a company vehicle to be involved in a car accident.
Car accidents can be distressing for those who are worried about how their injuries will affect their careers. If you are in a car crash while driving a company vehicle, the question may come up of whether you should file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits or whether you’d be better off pursuing a personal injury claim.
Worker’s comp and personal injury claims
In general, when you are injured on the job, you will pursue workers’ compensation benefits. This is because, in providing workers’ comp to employees, employers are protected from being sued. It’s a trade-off: workers who are injured on-the-job relinquish their right to pursue a legal claim against their employer in exchange for the ability to pursue workers’ comp instead, no matter who was at fault for the damages the worker suffered.
Exceptions to workers’ comp
However, like so many facets of life, there are exceptions. For example, if your employer intentionally caused your injury, a legal claim may be a possibility. These suits would be based on intentional torts such as assault, fraud, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, to name a few.
In addition, if your on-the-job injuries were caused by a third-party, it may be possible to pursue a legal claim against that party. Let’s look at our example of a professional injured while driving a company vehicle. If the crash was caused by another driver not involved with the company, for example, if the collision was caused by another driver speeding through a red light, it may be possible to pursue a legal claim against that third party.
Those injured in accidents involving company cars may need legal help
Ultimately, it’s not always crystal-clear whether your employer will be liable if you are in a car crash while using a company vehicle. Any car accident has the potential to be complex, with many variables to consider. For this reason, it can help to consult with an attorney in the San Jose area before making any decisions.