Getting into a car accident is always difficult, but things are a lot more complicated if you crash in a company vehicle. Is it up to you to make an insurance claim or does it all go through the company? Are you going to get in trouble at work because you crashed a company vehicle? Could you lose your job? The short answer is, it depends. There are a lot of different factors to consider if you’re in work related car accident and the process of dealing with it can vary quite a lot. If you’ve been in an accident in a company vehicle or you’re just worried about what will happen if you are, here’s everything that you need to know.
Were You On The Clock At The Time?
This is a very important question to consider because it has a big impact on how you claim on your insurance and who pays for any medical bills if you’re injured. If driving is a part of your job (deliveries or traveling salesman, for example) and you have an accident while you’re on the clock, that’s a company issue. It will be your employer that has to deal with making an insurance claim. If you are injured and you have to take time off work, you can make a workers compensation claim to cover the cost of your medical bills and any lost wages while you were off work.
If you were driving a company vehicle but you weren’t on the clock when the accident happened, it’s a different story entirely. In this situation, your employer doesn’t really have anything to do with the situation. If the other driver was at fault and you were injured, you’ll have to go to a personal injury lawyer to make a compensation claim, not your employer. Similarly, you’ll have to make an insurance claim for yourself, your employer doesn’t get involved. It’s fairly simple if it’s obvious whether you were considered to be working or not during the accident, but it’s not always that clear cut.
There are some gray areas that can complicate the situation. For example, the time that you spend driving to and from work normally counts as personal time, but only if you have set times to start and finish. If the work day starts at 9, anything before that is personal time. But what if you have flexible hours and you don’t have a set time to be at work, things are less clear. If you aren’t sure whether you were technically working or not at the time of the accident, you might need to explain the situation to a lawyer and see what their verdict is.
Handle It Like Any Other Accident
When you crash a work vehicle, your first thoughts are probably going to be about what your boss is going to think and whether you’ll get in trouble. But it’s important that you don’t spend all of your time worrying about that and forget about all of the important things that you should do in the aftermath of an accident. First off, you need to make sure that you and the other driver don’t have any serious injuries and call for medical assistance if you do.
Then, you need to start recording all of the evidence. If you’ve got a dash cam, that’s a big bonus because you can prove it if the other driver was at fault. Once you’ve made sure that everybody is safe, start getting some photos of the damage on both cars so you’ve got a good record and the other driver can’t exaggerate their claim later on. After you’ve taken down all of the evidence that you need, make sure that you get all of their insurance details. Always make sure that you call the police as well. It’ll help to have their record of the accident if you need to make an insurance or compensation claim in the future.
Inform Your Employer
Calling up your boss and telling them that you’ve crashed a company car is always going to be a difficult conversation, but it’s only going to be worse if you put it off. If the accident happened during work hours, your employer needs to start making preparations for a workers compensation claim and look into getting the car repaired or replaced etc. They also need to know if you’re injured and have to take time off work so they can start making arrangements for somebody to cover. The longer you leave it before you tell them, the less time they’ll have to do all of that stuff. They might be annoyed about the crash or they might not, but they’ll definitely be annoyed if you don’t let them know about the situation immediately.
Take Some Time Off
Being in a car accident can be quite traumatic and you might also end up with some injuries. Often, people are keen to make it up to their employer because they’re worried about any bad feelings about the accident. But you’ve got to remember that you were in a car accident and you’ve got to look after yourself first. If you need some time off work to recover, you’re entitled to it and you should take it. If you try to get back into work before you’re ready, you’re only going to injure yourself further.
The last step is to file any claims that you need to. The insurance claim should be fairly straightforward if it’s clear who is at fault and you’ve got good evidence. But your worker’s compensation claim or personal injury claim might be a little more complicated. If you’ve gathered enough evidence, you should have a good case. But these things can take a while to sort out so make sure that you set the wheels in motion right away. It’s especially important if you’re taking time off work because that extra money is a big help.
Crashing a work vehicle might seem scary, but as long as you follow these steps, you should be fine.