Is My Company Liable for Passenger Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents On the Job?

Accidents that happen on the job in Texas abide by different rules and systems than non-work related accidents. Liability, a victim’s legal options, and how much compensation employees can receive, all differ from the typical rules when the crash happened at work.

One example of the differences between work vs. non-work related accidents is in the rights of an injured passenger. Passengers in vehicles cannot file claims against drivers if they are in a car accident while on the job. Instead, they can only file for workers’ compensation. To learn more about this, contact a Houston workers compensation attorney today.

Who is Liable for Passenger Injuries?

Transportation accidents are common in virtually all industries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), transportation accidents take the most worker lives in the U.S. every year. Transportation accidents at work can happen because of poorly trained employees, distracted drivers, badly maintained fleet vehicles, malfunctioning vehicle parts, dangerous roads, and bad weather. Parties that may be liable for your injuries as a vehicle passenger include:

  • Your employer. The main party most likely responsible for your damages will be your employer. Employers are vicariously liable for the actions and behaviors of their employees – including their drivers. Your employer may be liable if it or one of its staff members caused or contributed to your accident.
  • A third-party driver. If an outside driver caused the car wreck, you might have the option to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver in addition to your workers’ compensation claim. You must prove the other driver’s fault to receive this type of compensation. To learn more about this, speak to a Houston personal injury lawyer now.
  • An equipment manufacturer. It’s possible that the manufacturer of the vehicle or a car part, such as a seatbelt or airbag, is liable for your injuries if a defective part contributed to your accident injuries. Product manufacturers are strictly liable for defective and dangerous auto parts, meaning you don’t have to prove negligence.

The person driving the car will not be liable for injuries you sustain as a passenger in a work setting. Instead, liability will fall to the employer of the driver. The only time you would be able to file a claim against the driver is if he or she was not on the clock at the time of the accident. If you were both working, your only remedy is most likely through a Texas workers’ compensation claim.

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Texas

As an injured passenger at work, a workers’ compensation claim can result in payment of your accident-related medical costs, partial lost wages, disability expenses, and more. The first step is finding out if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, and whether it is a subscriber or non-subscriber.

Texas is the only state that lets employers unsubscribe from the state’s workers’ comp system. If your employer is a non-subscriber, ask about specific rules for reporting your accident and filing your claim. Otherwise, follow the state’s rules.

In general, you need to report the car accident as soon as possible to a supervisor at your workplace. You have 24 hours on most workers’ compensation claims to do so, but many employers require that you make the report right away. Then, visit the hospital for your injuries. Ask your employer if there are specific physicians or facilities you must visit to qualify for benefits. Next, file your workers’ compensation claim through your employer’s insurance company. Again, follow the rules and requirements for doing so according to your employer.

You can receive coverage for your medical expenses and other losses up to a certain number of weeks if the insurer approves your workers’ compensation claim. In the event that the company denies your claim, contact a lawyer about a potential bad faith insurance lawsuit. A lawyer can assist you with all aspects of your injured passenger claim in Texas, helping you maximize your recovery.