If you were injured in a car accident on your way to work, or while you were in a company vehicle, you may be confused about what exactly you need to do next in order to pursue a legal claim.
Car accident injury claims are always complex, and when your job is involved it makes the situation all the more complicated. This is especially true if you were operating a company vehicle at the time of the crash.
At Sutliff & Stout, our Houston personal injury attorneys have extensive experience handling both auto accident claims and work injury claims. In this post, we highlight the most important things that you need to know about work-related car accident claims. If you or a family member was hurt in a crash while commuting to your job, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our law firm for immediate assistance with your case.
What Role Does Workers’ Compensation Play in Commuting Accidents?
Many workers in our state are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, covered employees’ exclusive right to hold their company legally liable for a work-related injury is through a workers’ compensation claim. If you are hurt while on the job, you should notify your employer or your manager as soon as you possibly can. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
When thinking about communing accidents and company vehicle accidents, you must answer a very important question: Does your auto accident actually qualify as a workplace accident for the purposes of the Texas workers’ compensation program? If it does, then you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries.
If it does not, then you must seek financial compensation through a different path. Answering the aforementioned question can be extremely complicated. In the modern world, fewer and fewer employees work exclusively at one location. Some form of travel is increasingly required of workers in Texas. This can make it difficult to define precisely when an employee is actually ‘at work’.
Was I At Work? Understanding the Course and Scope Standard
The state of Texas uses the ‘course and scope’ standard to determine whether or not an accident counts as an ‘on-the-job’ injury. Under this legal standard, you were ‘working’ if you were acting in the furtherance of the interests of your employer and you were under the control of your employer. If both of these factors apply to your motor vehicle accident case, then Texas will likely deem your injuries to have taken place within the course and scope of your employment.
Notably, day-to-day communing accidents are generally not considered to be workplace injuries for the purposes of the Texas workers’ compensation act. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. If you were making a delivery, travelling to a specific short-term job site, or within a company vehicle, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in relation to your crash.
To better understand your options, you should consult with an experienced Houston workers’ compensation lawyer who can review the individual facts of your case. Your lawyer will be able to help you determine the best way to protect your legal rights and financial interests.
Car Accidents Caused By Third-Party Negligence
Regardless of whether or not you were considered to be ‘on the job’ at the time your Texas auto accident occurred, you can still bring a legal claim against any negligent third party. In fact, in some cases, it is advisable to pursue a third-party negligence lawsuit in addition to your Texas workers’ compensation claim.
Pursuing one type of claim does not necessarily foreclose your right to pursue the other. Though, these claims can have an impact on each other, so you should work with one attorney to bring your case.
Negligent Drivers Should Be Held Accountable
Under Texas state regulations, you can hold a negligent driver legally liable for damages that you sustained in an accident. While many different parties can potentially be held liable for motor vehicle accidents, the overwhelming majority of auto accident claims are brought against negligent drivers. Driver negligence comes in many different forms. Some of the most common examples include:
- Running a stop sign;
- Running a red light;
- Following another vehicle too closely;
- Failure to yield;
- Texting while driving;
- Talking on a cell phone while driving;
- Distracted driving;
- Drugged driving; and
- Drunk driving.
How Our Texas Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
When our Houston car accident lawyers take on your commuting accident or company vehicle accident claim, we will carefully review the facts of your case and help you explore all available avenues to seek the full and fair financial compensation you deserve under state law. Depending on the specific facts of your case, you may have a claim through:
- Your employer’s commercial insurance policy;
- Your own auto insurance policy;
- The insurance policy of a third-party defendant; and/or
- Workers’ compensation insurance.
Untangling all of these different, sometimes overlapping claims can be a highly challenging task. Our Texas car accident lawyers have the skills and experience to help you properly assemble your case so that you can maximize your recovery. We will organize your case, and will be sure not to leave any stone unturned. Depending on the underlying circumstances of your commuting accident, you may be eligible to obtain money for:
- Emergency medical costs;
- Long-term medical treatment;
- All other related medical bills;
- Lost current and future wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental distress;
- Loss of lifestyle enjoyment; and
- The wrongful death of a family member.
Contact Our Texas Auto Accident Attorneys Today
At Sutliff & Stout, our Houston car accident lawyers have extensive experience handling work-related motor vehicle accident cases, including Texas workers’ compensation cases. If you were injured while driving to work or while in a company care, please do not hesitate to contact us today for a free, no obligation review of your case. With offices in Houston, Austin, and Marble Falls, we represent injured victims throughout the region.