Car wreck in personal vehicle...

by Steve
(Reno, Nevada)

In December 2013 I was a passenger in a car wreck in Nevada. The driver was a fellow employee. We were traveling to work in a personal vehicle. We were being paid travel time and per diem at the time of the wreck. We were also using a company fuel card to fuel up the vehicle.

The personal vehicle we were in was having mechanical issues and wasn't safe to be driving. Our employer was aware of this and told us to keep driving it anyway. A workers' compensation claim was filed and denied, they stated because we were in a personal truck. The driver's car insurance was not adequate to cover medical bills.

Can I sue my employer for not providing us with a safe vehicle for transportation? Can I sue my employer for failure to properly train employees driving in hazardous road conditions? Can I sue me employer for failure to carry adequate vehicle insurance on a personal vehicle being used for company business? Any other possible actions here? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Car wreck in personal vehicle...":

Steve (Reno, Nevada):

People can sue anyone, at any time, any place, for any reason, and for just about any amount. But that doesn't mean they will succeed. You too, can sue your employer for just about anything you are upset about.

If you were driving a company vehicle, and that vehicle was not properly maintained by the company, and as a result of that failure to maintain you were injured, then you would have had the basis of a workers' compensation claim, and possibly a personal injury claim against your employer.

Whether or not you have the basis of a personal injury claim would depend on whether or not the court believed the failure to maintain the company vehicle amounted to gross negligence or a reckless disregard for the employee's safety. That doesn't seem to be the case here.

Your employer is not liable to provide vehicle insurance for a private vehicle. If you believed the personal car was not safe, then you should have sought alternative transportation. While that may have been an inconvenience, it would have been the appropriate action.

Workers' comp normally does not pay for injuries that occur while an employee is driving to or from work. In your case, you were traveling to work when the accident occurred. also, you certainly will not win a lawsuit against your employer for not providing a class on driving a personal vehicle under hazardous conditions.

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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