Navigating a “hit by a company vehicle” settlement

Navigating a “Hit By A Company Vehicle” Settlement

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 6 minutes

Navigating a “Hit By A Company Vehicle” Settlement

If you’ve been hit by a company vehicle and thereby suffered injuries, you may be wondering about what you’re entitled to under the law — and how to go about securing a settlement, if possible. Though accident disputes are common, they aren’t always straightforward. The company vehicle aspect can further complicate your dispute, in fact, though it’s worth noting that it can also give you access to a better pathway for compensation.

Ready to learn more? Read on.

What happens if someone hits you in a company vehicle?

If you’re hit by a company vehicle, and you sustain injuries as a result, then you could potentially sue them AND their employer. There are two different strategic possibilities for recovering compensation from the employer in such a situation:

  1. Vicarious liability: under vicarious liability, you can impose liability on the employer for the negligence of their employee. The employee has to have been acting within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the accident, however (i.e., performing job duties). This is valuable, as it can give you access to the employer’s potentially significant insurance coverage.
  2. Independent liability: if the employee was not negligent, then you can’t utilize vicarious liability to sue the employer. However, you CAN sue the employer if you can show that they negligently hired or supervised the employee who injured you. So, for example, suppose that a delivery driver hits you and injures you. It turns out that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. You discover, further, that their employer knowingly hired them as a delivery driver despite them having a long history of alcoholism and license suspensions. Under these circumstances, you very likely sue the employer for negligently hiring the driver.

How do I request a settlement?

In an accident where you were hit by a company vehicle, your attorney will — as part of their various responsibilities — begin the process of negotiating a settlement with the defendant (and various others, as necessary, such as insurance companies). You don’t have to go out of your way to request a settlement, though it’s worth discussing the process with your attorney so that you can keep apprised of developments. Experienced attorneys will generally communicate with you throughout the settlement negotiation process, however, to ensure that your needs are not ignored.

What damages am I entitled to recover in a settlement?

In an accident dispute where you were hit by a company vehicle, you can claim the following losses as compensatory damages:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of property
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • And more

For example, suppose that you’re an office worker with an annual salary of $70,000. You get into a car accident that injures your back quite severely. As a result of the accident, you cannot return to work for a year, and you have significant medical expenses (perhaps tallying up to $100,000, which includes rehab and a surgical intervention). You would have $170,000 in lost wages and medical expenses alone, not counting the property loss (damage to your vehicle) or pain and suffering, which can add up to several hundreds of thousands of dollars as well.

In addition to these damages, courts in some cases award “punitive damages,” which are bonus damages intended to punish particularly egregious defendants and discourage others in society from engaging in similar behavior (i.e., drunk driving). If the court awards bonus punitive damages, you could see your take-home award increase significantly, so it’s worth exploring this strategic possibility with your attorney.

How do settlements work, exactly?

The large majority of disputes are resolved through a negotiated settlement. In fact, industry data indicates that settlement agreements may resolve as much as 95 percent of accident disputes!

Settlement is so common (and so favored) because trial litigation is uncertain, public, expensive, and exhausting to all involved. No matter how confident you are about your dispute, there’s always a chance that the court will find in favor of the other party (except in cases where the other party concedes the issue). Even if the court finds in your favor, they might lowball your damages and leave you with less than you would have ideally recovered for the accident.

Settlement avoids that uncertainty, as the parties agree upon an amount that is fair and reasonable — in other words, an amount that they’ll both be satisfied with. This is beneficial in other ways, too, as there’s no need for a public dispute, nor the frustrating demands of court hearings and trial processes.

That being said, not all settlements are made equal. You can secure better settlement offers the more that you can prove it’s “likely” that you’ll win your case if it were to go all the way through to trial (and the more likely it is that you’ll be awarded the damages that you’re claiming). You can do this by introducing strong supportive evidence for your claims, and by developing persuasive legal arguments.

How an Attorney Can Help

Motor vehicle accident attorneys have a wide range of responsibilities, and they can help you in myriad ways from the very beginning of a dispute. As such, there is real value to connecting with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident has occurred. Attorney assistance includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Gathering and preserving evidence
  • Investigating the accident scene
  • Working with experts to develop the case
  • Identifying and working with witnesses
  • Handling communications with third-parties
  • Negotiating a potential settlement
  • Navigating court hearings and other processes
  • Pushing forward to trial if necessary
  • Securing compensation on the client’s behalf
  • And more

If you’ve been injured in an accident where you were hit by a company vehicle, then you could be entitled to significant compensation. Navigating the settlement (and potentially even trial litigation if the settlement falls through) isn’t always straightforward, however. You’ll want to work with a qualified attorney who can help you secure the maximum possible recovery.

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to connect to one of our agents. After a brief set of questions — in just 10 minutes or less — they’ll put you through to one of the attorneys in our legal network, who will provide a free consultation. During this initial consultation, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your case in detail and gain insight into what options you have.

There’s no obligation to continue if you decide against it, so there’s no downside! Call in and get started.

We look forward to assisting you.

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