Accident in work car denied by employer's insurance?

by Karen
(Houston, TX)

I work for a home health agency and have company car, which I am expected to drive. I seldom go to the office, rather I go between patients' homes. I'm expected to work between 8a-5p, and have to sync my computer every day before I can see patients.

While driving the company car, I was rear ended and actually hit in the back and front. The car was totaled and I was injured. The company I work for says they will not pay for any of my injuries because it occurred on the way to my first patient's house, and they don't cover driving "to and from work." The man who hit me has insurance, but not enough for all my bills.

Does my employer have any liability for my bills? It was their car that I had to drive, and I probably would not have been hurt as bad if the airbags had gone off (they did not). This happened in Texas. There is no workman's comp, but a private workers insurance. Thank you for any information you can provide.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Accident in work car denied by employer's insurance?":

Karen (Houston, TX):

In most cases, injuries sustained by employees on their way to or from work, or patient appointments are not covered by Texas Worker's Compensation. In these cases, the reasoning is, your employer does not have any pecuniary (financial) interest in, or derive any pecuniary benefit from, your driving to or from work, or between patient appointments.

Your employer will maintain that while driving between patient appointments, or to patient appointments from your home, you are not acting within your "scope of employment."

To be eligible for worker's compensation benefits you must have been injured while in the scope of your employment, while performing your normal and customary work duties.

But there may be an exception to the above in your case...

Since your employer provides you with a company car to drive to and from work, or between patient appointments, it can be argued your employer is deriving a pecuniary benefit. These benefits may include:

- Making sure you arrive on time at a patient's home

- Making sure you will arrive safely at a patient's home

- Carrying the medical equipment, devices, or materials you may use to assist patients, especially if the medical equipment, devices, or materials were provided by your employer, or that you were reimbursed for the cost of those items and the items are carried in your car to and from a patient's home

- The company car has advertising on it, or information about your employer which can be seen by other drivers, pedestrians, or the public as you drive

If your employer continues to deny liability, seek the advice and counsel of an experienced workers compensation attorney. Most will not charge any fee for an initial office consultation.

For more information about Texas Workers Compensation benefits for home care providers and their employees, go to:

Comp Connection for Health Care Providers
800-252-7031 Ext. 3
Texas Department of Insurance

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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