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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Can I sue if I was in a car accident at work in Nova Scotia?

It is important to determine whether you are covered by worker’s compensation benefits.

Car accident at work

If you are in a car accident while at work, you can sue the person who injured you. There are various factors to consider when a motor vehicle accident happens while you are working, including:

  • Who is at fault for the accident?
  • Are there any legal principles at play?
  • Are there worker’s benefits available?

If you are in an accident at work, you typically have two options: (1) pursue compensation through worker’s benefits; or (2) sue the person who caused the accident.

What benefits am I entitled to as an employee injured in an accident?

In Nova Scotia, most employees injured at work will receive benefits from the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB). If you were performing your job at the time of the accident, your employer would typically pay you worker’s compensation benefits after an accident at work, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. These benefits usually cover some lost wages and medical treatment. If you were not performing a work-related task at the time of the accident, you do not qualify for these benefits.

Tip: It is important to determine whether worker’s compensation benefits cover you. If so, discuss these with your employer when you can. Knowing what benefits are available to you can greatly help you in the long run.

However, if you pursue this avenue and receive benefits under the WCB regime, you may give up your right to pursue a tort claim. One of our lawyers can help you decide which avenue of compensation is best for you.

Suing the driver who caused the accident

When you sue the other driver, you can attempt to recover lost wages, damages for pain and suffering, and damages for your loss of housekeeping ability. Remember, when you have an active worker’s benefits claim, you may be unable to pursue a tort claim. This can be the case for all the Atlantic Canadian provinces. If you’re injured, speak to a personal injury lawyer to discuss whether you should opt out of worker’s benefits.

It’s always best to seek legal advice before taking action

Many complexities play into car accidents that occur while you are at work. Discussing your car accident claim with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is important. Doing so will ensure you know exactly what to do to get the compensation you deserve.

Can an employer be held responsible for an employee who causes an accident?

The short answer is yes. An employer can be responsible for an employee’s negligence because of the legal principle of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability means one party can be held responsible for someone else’s wrongdoing. If an employee is driving for work purposes and causes an accident, the injured party can sue the employer to cover the damages caused by the employee.

For vicarious liability to apply in these situations, the parties must determine exactly what the employee was doing at the time of the accident.

Other examples where an employer can be held vicariously liable are as follows:

  • The employer benefits from the activity that the employee was performing when the accident happened
  • The accident happened while the employee was performing a work-related task
  • The employee’s actions before the accident fell under the “scope of employment”

In these situations, the employer’s insurance provider would likely cover the damages caused to the injured person.

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MacGillivray Law is a personal injury law firm with offices in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. We serve clients all across Canada.

If you cannot travel to one of our offices, we will accommodate your circumstances and travel needs. We can provide a consultation by phone, Zoom, or FaceTime, or travel to meet you in your home when required.

If you would like to learn your legal options at no obligation, contact us today to set up a free consultation.

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