If you are injured in a crash involving a company vehicle in Florida, you may wonder who is responsible to pay the medical bills, lost wages, and other damages you’ve suffered. To answer that question, though, some other questions have to be answered first. Who was driving the company vehicle? Who was most at fault in causing the crash? If you were in the company car, as a driver or passenger, there are also questions about whether you were engaged in work at the time of the crash, which might involve a potential workers’ compensation claim from the car crash.
All cars on the roads in Florida follow essentially the same rules about liability and insurance coverage, regardless of whether the car is owned by a company or just a private individual. A company that owns cars that are licensed on the roads of Florida has to follow the same rules of insurance coverage for their cars as other car owners.
A company that allows its employees to drive its cars also takes responsibility for the actions of those employees while they’re driving one of the company cars for business. The company may be legally responsible for expenses from an accident if the driver of the company car was at fault.
No-Fault Insurance State
Florida law requires all vehicles to have three basic kinds of insurance coverage.
- Liability coverage to pay the cost of injuries and damages that a crash could cause to other people;
- Property damage coverage to pay for car repairs; and
- Personal injury protection (PIP) to pay for the first $10,000 worth of the driver’s and passengers’ medical bills and lost wages that resulted from the accident, regardless of who was at fault in causing the crash.
The no-fault part of the law means that no matter who was responsible for causing the accident, the insurance company of the car that you were in at the time usually must pay for any medical bills or time away from work that you suffered because of the crash, up to the first $10,000.
After an accident, the first question is not always who was at fault, but rather, which insurance company will cover the initial bills. If you were in a company car when the crash happened, it is likely that the company’s auto insurance policy may be paying the first $10,000 in damages. The limitation on that amount, though, is that the personal injury protection insurance only has to pay 80% of the cost of medical bills and 60% of lost wages. This means that if you were injured in an accident and had $10,000 in medical expenses but no lost wages, the personal injury protection insurance would only be required to pay 80% of your medical bills, which would be $8,000 here. If your bills totaled $15,000, though, the insurance would likely have to pay you the full $10,000, since 80% of your medical bills would come to more than that limit.
The Purpose Of Using The Company Vehicle
If you were in an accident in a company vehicle, a key question to ask is whether you were using the company vehicle on the job, doing work for the company at the time of the crash. If you were using the company car in the process of working for the company, rather than just running personal errands or going to or from work, you may have a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits cover workers while they are engaged in work for their company when the injury occurs. If you were in a company car but conducting personal business, such as going to lunch, workers’ compensation laws may not cover you.
Comparative Liability in Florida
If your total damages for medical bills and lost wages are more than the $10,000 that is covered by personal injury protection, the question of who was at fault for the crash becomes important. Florida uses what is called “comparative fault” to decide who will pay for the expenses in excess of $10,000. This means that the insurance company and lawyers, or a judge or jury if the case goes to trial, must figure out how the crash happened and assign a percentage of fault to each driver involved in the crash. They can even assign a percentage of fault to non-drivers, such as a case where road defects were a partial cause of the accident.
For example, if you were driving and were hit by a company car that was making a left turn in front of you, the insurance company or court must decide if you were partly at fault in the crash. Perhaps you were going too fast on that road or were not paying attention as well as you should have been. If you were found to be 10% at fault and the other driver was 90% to blame, then the total damages that you could receive for medical bills, lost wages, and the pain you’ve been through would be reduced by 10% to account for your portion of fault.
Florida Company Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Have you sustained injuries in a company vehicle accident? If so, it is important that you speak to a personal injury lawyer who is well-versed at company vehicle accident cases. At Koberlein Law Offices, our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience with helping injured Floridians hold drivers and their employers accountable and make them pay for what they have done. We will carefully evaluate your situation, help you understand your options, and fight on your behalf to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, reach out to Koberlein Law Offices by calling us toll-free at 877.556.2889 or by contacting us online.