Having an accident while driving a company vehicle can be confusing when it comes to insurance claims. Many workers wonder if a crash in a work car will impact their personal auto insurance. Understanding how commercial and personal insurance policies intersect can help protect your finances and driving record after an on-the-job collision.
How Company Car Accidents Affect Insurance
If you drive a vehicle owned by your employer and are involved in an accident during working hours, your company’s commercial auto insurance should provide coverage. This is thanks to a legal concept called vicarious liability.
What is Vicarious Liability?
Vicarious liability means an employer can be held financially responsible for negligent actions by employees within the scope of their work duties.
So if an employee crashes a company car while carrying out job functions, the employer’s insurance covers the damages. The company’s policy protects the employee from personal liability.
When Company Insurance Applies
Some examples of when an employer’s auto insurance would cover a work accident include:
- You crash while driving to a meeting or worksite for your job.
- You are involved in an accident while making deliveries for your company.
- A collision occurs while driving between business errands or meetings.
- You hit someone while driving to or from a client’s office for work.
In these situations, the company’s insurer pays for property damage and injuries to others. You would not have to file a claim with your personal auto policy.
Personal Insurance Exceptions
There are some cases when your own car insurance could get involved after a crash in an employer’s vehicle:
- You were running a personal errand outside of work duties when the accident happened. For example, stopping at the bank or swinging by your child’s school.
- You got in a crash while commuting to or from your workplace.
- You violated company policy or drove recklessly when the collision occurred.
- Your work duties were completed for the day and you crashed afterward.
In these scenarios, your own insurer may cover repairs or medical bills if your employer denies the claim. Your insurance rates could also increase after causing an at-fault accident in a company car.
Accidents Show Up on Driving Records
Even if your personal auto insurer does not pay any claim money, they may still find out about a crash in a work vehicle. Here’s how:
Police reports: If police respond to the accident, it will likely show up on your motor vehicle record.
Insurer notifications: Your employer’s insurance company may report the incident to a national claims database.
MVR checks: When you renew your personal policy, insurers look at your official driving history for any accidents, tickets, etc.
So although your own insurance may not be involved in the claim, the crash could still appear on your record during background checks. This is true even if you were not at fault.
Multiple accidents can flag you as a higher risk driver to auto insurers. So your personal insurance rates could rise after a collision in a company vehicle, even if your policy did not pay any damages.
When Accidents Don’t Show on Your Record
Minor accidents may not make it onto your driving history. For example:
- Fender benders in parking lots that do not get reported.
- You exchange insurance info after a crash but don’t file a formal claim.
Without an official police report or insurance claim, these incidents likely won’t show up in MVR checks. But serious collisions that cause major vehicle damage or injuries must be reported to authorities. And your insurance record will reflect that.
How to Handle the Insurance Claims Process
If you’re in an accident while driving for work, follow these steps regarding insurance:
Report it to your boss: Let them know about the crash right away.
Get police/witness info: Ask for a police report on scene if possible. Also get witness contact details.
Take photos: Document damage and conditions with cell phone pictures.
Note your hours: Verify you were on the clock for work at the time, especially if it was a commute.
Consult an attorney: Discuss the accident details with an experienced lawyer before giving any recorded statement.
Cooperate with your employer’s insurer: Work with the commercial insurance claims process as needed.
Monitor your license points: Watch to see if the crash appears on your motor vehicle record.
Following these steps helps ensure potential insurance and liability issues are handled properly after an on-the-job accident. Consult a lawyer to fully protect yourself.
Workers’ Compensation for Workplace Injuries
The above information refers to accidents where a company vehicle damages property or injures other people. But what if you suffer an injury while driving for work?
If you are hurt or crash while operating a work vehicle, it is usually covered by workers’ compensation insurance, not auto policies.
Workers’ Comp Coverage
Almost every employer in Georgia carries workers’ compensation insurance. This policy covers employees who get injured while performing job duties.
Some examples of workplace injuries covered by workers’ comp include:
- Strains or falls while loading company vehicles.
- Crashing while making deliveries for your employer.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome from driving all day for work.
- Getting rear-ended by another car while driving between business meetings.
Workers’ comp insurance will pay for:
- Doctor visits and medical treatment
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages from missed work
- Rehabilitation or physical therapy
- Disability benefits
Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim
To receive benefits after a work injury, you must formally file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. This provides proper legal documentation and allows the benefits process to begin.
Strict claim filing deadlines apply, so it’s important to discuss the details with an experienced workers’ comp attorney right away. They can ensure the insurance company handles your case fairly.
Protect Yourself After a Work Accident
- Always put safety first when driving for your employer.
- Report any work vehicle crashes to your manager promptly.
- Consult a personal injury lawyer before giving any recorded statement.
- Cooperate with your employer’s insurance and their investigation.
- If injured, contact a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney immediately.
Following these tips helps defend your rights and simplify the claims process after an on-the-job collision. Let an attorney deal with the insurers while you focus on your recovery.
- If you crash a company car within your work duties, your employer’s commercial insurance generally covers damages through vicarious liability.
- But your own personal car insurance could get involved if you were driving for non-work purposes when the accident occurred.
- Crashes often appear on your official DMV driving history, which insurers check when underwriting policies.
- Multiple accidents can label you high-risk, raising your personal insurance rates.
- If you are injured while driving for work, file a workers’ compensation claim to recover benefits.
- Consult a lawyer to protect yourself any time you are in an accident on the job.
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