Vehicle accidents can have substantial and long-lasting consequences. These consequences can be financial, medical, or otherwise. Depending on the accident’s severity, these consequences can last the rest of your life. Accidents with other drivers are challenging enough to handle on their own, but the case becomes even more complicated when you are involved in an accident with a company vehicle.
In a car accident between two civilian drivers, the process consists of dealing with each other’s insurance to determine fault and whoever is deemed at fault pays for damage or treatment necessary following that accident. In some circumstances, you may be required to go to court to obtain a judgment on who is legally responsible for the accident. Concerning accidents between a civilian and a company, the process comes with substantially higher stakes. No matter who the accident is with, it is essential that you receive the compensation you need to recover and replace or repair your vehicle. This article will discuss company auto accidents and what to do when you have been involved in one.
West Virginia Auto Accident Attorneys
The process becomes even more complicated in accidents involving company vehicles because large companies often have extensive teams of lawyers determined to limit their liability and deny you the compensation you deserve. If you have been involved in an accident with a company vehicle, it is vital that you hire an experienced auto accident attorney to assist you. An experienced auto accident attorney can help you navigate the complicated legal process and thwart tactics that large companies and their lawyers use to prevent your recovery. Salango Law company vehicle accident attorneys are ready to help you with your auto accident severe claims. To learn more or schedule your initial case consultation, call (304) 342-0512 or visit us on our website today.
Company Vehicle Auto Accidents
Independent Contractors Vs. Employees
In accidents involving company vehicles, the law considers whether the person involved in the accident is an independent contractor or an employee. The difference between an independent contractor and an employee means all the difference when determining liability in an auto accident.
Independent contractors are individuals or businesses hired to perform services for another with a contracted understanding between the parties. The contract establishes all the terms of the agreement, such as duty, pay, and the work required. The difference between an independent contracting agreement and an employment contract is that an independent contracting agreement lays out the job duties but does not dictate how the contractor performs the work. The employer of an independent contractor enjoys limited liability because they do not dictate how the employee does their job, only what the job is. As the employer does not control how the employee completes their job duties, they may avoid liability from the employee’s actions.
On the other hand, an employee is hired by the employer, and the employee’s work is controlled and directed by the employer. In employment agreements between an employee and an employer, the employer sets job requirements, duties, and how the employee fulfills those duties and requirements. The difference between an independent contractor and an employee is the degree of control the employer exerts over a person or entity they have hired. Because the employer dictates what the job is and how it’s performed, when liability is concerned, they will have less protection because they were the ones who made the decision, not the employee. While this is the general rule, an employer may still not be liable for an employee’s actions if those actions are not related to or within the scope of their job position.
Company Liability For Auto Accidents
When a driver, their employer, or another party is liable for causing your injuries in a company vehicle accident, you could be entitled to damages (financial compensation), which could cover things like lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills. Knowing who to sue for damages can be difficult in company vehicle accidents. This is often the case because companies like Amazon use independent contractors as delivery drivers.
Independent contractors are people or entities hired to accomplish tasks but do not control how those jobs are completed. For example, an Amazon driver may be employed by Amazon to deliver packages, but the drivers are responsible for the methods they use to deliver packages. As Amazon does not control how the drivers fulfill job requirements, they have less liability because they did not control how that employee operated. The process is more complicated when seeking contributions from companies that hire independent contractors, but your compensation is still possible.
Using Amazon as an example, you likely will be unable to sue Amazon directly to receive compensation for the accident. Amazon drivers are not direct employees of the company because they are independent contractors hired by an independent division. However, even though Amazon delivery drivers are considered independent contractors, you will still be able to receive compensation because the drivers must have liability insurance. This liability insurance is provided through Amazon called Amazon Flex Insurance coverage. The insurance coverage covers liability for accidents that they cause up to $1,000,000. In the event of an accident, if the Amazon delivery driver were deemed responsible, you would sue Amazon Flex Insurance for compensation.
Why Company Vehicle Accidents Are Different
You face an uphill battle when dealing with a company vehicle in an auto accident. Even the most minor accidents can result in substantial damages. Those damages can add up, cutting into the corporation’s bottom line. Large corporations like Amazon have extensive legal teams focused entirely on limiting liability and avoiding paying for those accidents. When dealing with large corporations, you must hire an attorney to ensure that your claims are heard and addressed.
What To Do After An Accident With A Company Vehicle
The steps that you take in an accident with a company vehicle are very similar to those that you would take in a common civilian auto accident. Taking these steps will help you increase your chances of compensation and gather evidence should insurance companies or other entities attempt to deny your claims.
Depending on the nature and severity of the accident, you must call 911 as soon as possible. You or the other driver may require immediate medical attention, and delaying that treatment could result in additional harm. Calling law enforcement is also important because the police will document the details of the accident in a police report. This police report can be used as evidence when seeking compensation for the accident.
Document The Accident
It is crucial to take pictures of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, and the surrounding accident scene to use as evidence to support your claim. Even though law enforcement will collect much of the same information, collecting as much information as possible will help you in the claims process or future litigation.
Obtain The Other Driver’s Information
As with any other auto accident, getting the contact information, insurance information, and driver’s information from the other driver at the scene is paramount. This information will be vital in the compensation process. For example, if you are in an accident with an Amazon driver, obtaining their policy information, driver’s license, and registration will help you when you file a claim with their insurance company. This information will also be necessary if you are required to take legal action to obtain compensation.
Seek Medical Attention
After the accident, even if you do not feel injured, you should seek medical attention. Some injuries that occur from auto accidents may not be immediately apparent, and seeing a medical professional will help identify them if they are present. Additionally, if you have been injured and require medical attention, the doctor’s examination can be valuable evidence when seeking compensation for injuries resulting from the accident.
Causes Of Company Auto Accidents
The causes of truck accidents can vary widely depending on the company and the truck’s purpose. Nonetheless, these occurrences can result in situations that increase the chances of accidents. For example, Amazon delivery drivers may be involved in accidents for different reasons than a semi-truck driver for a shipping company. Amazon delivery drivers often have a large volume of deliveries to make in a specified amount of time. To complete their deliveries, they may engage in unsafe driving practices, increasing the chance of an incident. As with other accidents, they may be caused by distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, and more.
Hiring A West Virginia Company Personal Injury Lawyer
No matter the type of company car accident, its effects can be devastating. Whether your vehicle has been damaged or you have experienced medical injury, the financial and physical setbacks can remain with you for the rest of your life. If you have experienced an auto accident, it is vital that you hire an experienced car accident lawyer to help you get the compensation you need. Salango Law auto commercial vehicle accident attorneys understand the law and process and are ready to represent you. To learn more or schedule your initial case consultation, call (304) 342-0512 or visit us on our website today.