Obviously, you know that traffic around New York is always busy, and even more so during the typical workday. In fact, an accident while you were driving or riding in a vehicle owned by your employer might not surprise you. It also would not be unheard of if you sustained significant injuries in such a crash.
The question is who would be responsible for covering your expenses as you recuperated? Technically speaking, you were not working. Still, you were in the vehicle on your way to work and at the time of the accident, you were being paid. What does the law say?
Who is responsible for your injuries in a work-related car accident?
Your employer must cover your expenses when you suffer injuries in a work-owned vehicle. Actually, there is a well-known classic legal principle at work called “vicarious liability.” In a nutshell, it means that one person, like your employer, is responsible for what befalls a second person, you, who is under the authority of the first person.
What if I am a contractor, not an employee, of the company?
In recent years, the distinction between an independent contractor and an actual employee of a business has been a subject of much debate, with lawsuits going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Under the current doctrine of Respondeat Superior, which literally means “let the boss speak,” the employer is responsible for the actions of an employee, though independent contractors are not considered employees and thus not eligible for this protection.
Should an accident occur, you are most protected if you are an employee on a business assignment.