Auto Accidents that occur while people are on the job happen quite frequently in Kansas. There are a number of occupations that involve driving of either company vehicles or the employee’s personal vehicle. In fact, the most common type of work/auto accidents involve large trucks, including semi trucks. In Kansas, because of the distance between cities, the frequency with which these collisions occur is quite high.
Certain occupations are certainly subject to a higher risk for auto collisions. For example, nurses and home health aides who drive from home to home taking care of people who need assistance are subject to a greater chance of being involved in an auto accident. Additionally, another common occupation where people are more vulnerable to auto wrecks on the job are oilfield workers. These people in the oil industry travel long distances in Kansas and are on the roadways quite frequently and sometimes with very dangerous equipment. Other common occupations that are at a greater risk for an auto accident to occur on the job are policemen and firemen who are in cars or trucks quite frequently.
In an automobile accident that occurs outside of the scope of employment, there are automobile insurance policies that are primary and will pay claims in those cases.
Auto accidents that occur while someone is on the job are different, however. There is another level of insurance coverage called Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage. This insurance is the primary coverage in an automobile accident case that will have to pay for medical bills and wage replacement before any other insurance might cover the same.
Additionally, in these types of auto collisions on the job, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier controls the medical care and can send the injured person wherever they want to. If someone is injured in an automobile accident outside of work, he or she chooses their own physician and medical care.
The other major difference in these cases relates to the right of reimbursement, also known as a right of subrogation for the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Even though the injured person will get workers’ compensation benefits, in an automobile wreck that occurred on the job, the workers’ compensation carrier is going to want its money back when the person or entity who caused the accident is pursued. This adds a bit of complexity to the settlement of the personal injury claim against the automobile driver who caused the wreck.
These are the main differences between an ordinary automobile wreck case and one that involves an accident that occurs in the course and scope of employment.
Respondeat superior means that the employer is responsible for its employee’s negligence or authorized activities that the employee does negligently. In cases where one is able to pursue the employer, there is much more insurance available and a much greater chance of a full recovery of all lawsuit damages. That’s what the concept of respondeat superior does for someone who is injured in an automobile accident or wreck involving an employee – it allows for more complete recoveries.