Injured while driving a personal vehicle for work: Liability & settlements Payouts depend on medical bills, lost wages, lawyer quality, & more. Lawyer up if facing more than $5,000 in expenses.

It’s not uncommon for employees to use their personal vehicles while on the job. Whether it’s the boss asking you to run to the post office over lunch or making sales calls on a daily basis, employees routinely use their own vehicles. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, "accidents happen."

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident while driving your own car in the course of doing your job, you’re probably wondering who’s going to be held liable for your injuries and if you should hire a personal injury lawyer. Read on and find out.

Car accident during work hours: "let the superior answer"

In law, accident cases involving employees are governed by the concept of respondeat superior, which is Latin for "let the superior answer." Commonly known as vicarious liability, this legal principle holds that employers are responsible for negligent acts of their employees—which includes auto accidents that occur when employees are using their own cars for business purposes.

In auto accident cases, the concept of vicarious liability applies only if the employee was using his/her car while actually “on the job.” If you’ve been injured in an accident while using your own car, you can expect to get grilled on the details of what you were doing at the time of the accident.

6 WI Car Accident Laws that Impact your claim

Is an employer liable for an employee’s car accident?

For your employer to be held liable, it has to be shown that your employer benefitted in some way from the trip you were making, or that your travel was required by your job (such as driving to a client’s place of business, or making sales calls).

What if you’re driving to work and get in an accident? Is your employer liable? No, unless you were on your way to pick up or drop off something related to your work. Even if you were just stopping to buy stamps for the office while on your way to work, that’s considered something that benefitted your employer.

Can more than one party be held liable?

Yes. When determining whose insurance will be held liable, it’s not uncommon to assign one insurance company as the primary insurance and another as secondary.

If the injured employee caused the accident, the employer’s insurance company is usually considered the primary insurance and the employee’s personal insurance is secondary insurance. If the injured employee was not at fault, the insurance of the liable party will be considered primary insurance, with the insurance of the injured employee’s employer as secondary insurance.

If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by another driver who you have reason to believe was on the job at the time, you’ll need to notify both that driver’s insurance company and the insurance company of the driver’s employer.

Going after both insurance companies is a sure way to maximize the amount of your settlement, and it’s something we do all the time at Warshafsky Law to ensure our clients get everything they’re owed.

Can an employer make you pay for accidental damage?

If you were injured in an accident while driving a company car in the course of your job duties and found to be responsible for causing the accident, you’re probably wondering if your employer can hold you financially responsible for repairs to the car. In most cases, the answer is no. Company cars are usually insured, so the company’s insurance policy will cover the cost of repairs.

Exceptions come into play if the company has a policy that excludes it from liability in the event of an accident. If your company provides a company car for your use, make sure you read the fine print on any Terms of Use statement you sign and understand any restrictions their insurance might have.

What if you crashed a company car due to reckless or drunken driving? The good news: no, your employer cannot make you pay for the damage you caused, and their insurance company will likely be held at least partially liable for any medical costs you incur. The bad news: your employer can and probably will fire you.

Injured? it is about the money®

Car insurance providers Warshafsky attorneys have beaten

  • State Farm insurance settlement
  • GEICO insurance settlement
  • Allstate insurance settlement
  • American Family Insurance settlement
  • Progressive insurance settlement
  • Acuity Insurance settlement
  • West Bend insurance settlement
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance settlement
  • MetLife insurance settlement
  • Nationwide Insurance settlement
  • Partners Mutual Insurance settlement
  • The Hartford insurance settlement
  • Travelers insurance settlement
  • Erie Insurance settlement
  • USAA insurance settlement
  • CSAA insurance settlement
  • National Gerneral insurance settlement
  • Mercury Insurance settlement
  • Auto-Owners Insurance settlement
  • MAPFRE insurance settlement
  • Kemper insurance settlement
  • Farmers Insurance settlement
  • Auto Club insurance settlement
  • Artisan & Truckers Casualty Company insurance settlement
  • American Standard Insurance settlement
  • Amica Mutual insurance settlement
  • Infinity Auto Insurance settlement


Request a free initial legal consultation with Milwaukee’s best personal injury law firm

Because every accident has its own unique set of circumstances, the best advice we can give here is to meet with an experienced personal injury attorney. Warshafsky Law offers a free initial consultation for prospective clients. We’ll let you know if the settlement you’ve most likely been offered is adequate, and what to expect should you choose to let us represent you.

There’s good reason to consider Warshafsky Law. We’re known as a law firm unafraid to take cases to trial. We prepare every case from day one as though it will be heard in court, not settled in a conference room. Insurance companies fear us because they know a jury trial puts them at risk of huge losses, as well as huge legal expenses.

Know that if you hire Warshafsky Law, you won’t be asked to make any payment to us until your case has been resolved and you’ve been compensated. For your peace of mind, we have a No Win, No Fee policy—meaning, if we don’t win your case you won’t owe us a thing.

No win. No fee. Free Case Assessment.