Can My Employer Make Me Pay for a Car Accident?

May 18, 2020

If you’ve caused a car accident while on the job, you may be wondering who is responsible for any damages or injuries that you, other drivers or pedestrians sustained. Learn about your rights in this situation, as well as the circumstances that could put you at fault. 

Vicarious Liability & Your Employer’s Responsibilities

Your employer is legally bound by something known as vicarious liability. This means they can be held responsible for actions you perform as part of your job, which can include driving and any related car accidents you cause.

Under vicarious liability, you may be protected whether you were driving a company or personal vehicle. The same may not be true for independent contractors.

It’s important to note that commuting to and from work does not fall within your scope of employment. Should you cause a car accident during this time, you and your insurance company will be held responsible. However, car accidents that occur during a business trip may indeed fall within your job’s scope.  

Vicarious Liability & Your Rights

While your employer may not be happy if they’re held liable for an accident you caused, they are not allowed to withhold your pay or force you to pay them back for costs they incurred. The Ministry of Labour’s Employment Standards Act prevents your employer from holding you monetarily accountable for mistakes made on the job. If your employer fired you for the accident, you may have probable cause to sue for unfair dismissal.

Exceptions to Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability protects employees who are acting within the scope of their job; however, you could be held accountable for a work-related auto accident if:

  • You were performing a personal errand during work hours or with a company vehicle

  • You were acting negligent or engaging in an illegal activity, such as driving recklessly or under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • You signed a company car contract that released your employer from liability

Unfortunately, your employer and/or their insurance company may attempt to find exceptions to vicarious liability even when there are none. Reaching out to the legal team at Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers can help you protect your rights.

Worker’s Compensation for Work-Related Car Accidents

If you incurred personal injuries in a work-related car accident — whether caused by you or a third party — worker’s compensation laws may require your employer to pay for the costs associated with your injuries. Worker’s compensation does not often cover pain and suffering, but it can include:

  • Medical care and other out-of-pocket expenses
  • Temporary or long-term disability
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits
  • Death benefits for spouses, children and any additional dependents

For you to qualify for worker’s compensation benefits, your injuries must have occurred on the job. If your injuries happened while performing personal errands or were the result of your own negligent actions, you may not be able to seek compensation through your employer.

Worker’s compensation also has limits on what it covers. If a third-party driver was at fault for the accident, pursuing compensation through them and their insurance company can help you recoup additional losses.

Contact an Auto Accident Attorney in Hamilton

Work-related car accidents are complex, but Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers have more than 40 years of experience with auto accident claims. Call 905-522-9799 for a free legal consultation. We serve clients throughout southern Ontario, including the nearby cities of Hamilton, Brantford, Burlington, Stoney Creek and Niagara Falls.

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Disclaimer: The information throughout this website is not intended to be taken as legal advice. The information provided by Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers is intended to provide general information regarding personal injury law, catastrophic injury cases, wrongful death claims, medical malpractice lawsuits, car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and more for residents of Hamilton, Burlington, Stoney Creek, Brantford, Niagara Falls, and nearby areas in Ontario. This website is not intended for viewing or usage by European Union citizens. If you are interested in learning more about our law firm, please contact us for a personal consultation.

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