Motor Vehicle Accidents At Work: Are They Covered By Workers’ Compensation?
Many jobs require traveling. Whether traveling from site to site to do repair work, accompanying a patient to go food shopping, or going on a special errand for you supervisor, motor vehicle accidents suffered while working fall within theWorkers’ Compensation law.
Even if you do not normally drive for your job, and you were involved in a motor vehicle accident while working, you still have Workers’ Compensation rights. This provides you with the same right to medical treatment, lost time and permanency awards. Additionally, in certain cases you may have a right to sue the other driver involved in the motor vehicle accident.
Accidents on the Rise
Every time you get behind the wheel, there is a risk of a motor accident. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of U.S. worker deaths, accounting for 35% of on-the-job fatalities. These accidents can lead to some of the most severe Workers’ Compensation injuries, but it is not always easy to tell what a claim will cover.
Even if you are injured in a company car or truck, your employer can try to deny you Workers’ Compensation, or rush you into settling for less than you deserve! This is why it is important for you to know your rights. If you have any questions, you can ask us! We’ll help you with your Workers’ Compensation claims process.
Is Your Accident Covered?
The most important question is: Were you ‘on the job?’
When you ARE covered by Workers’ Compensation:
If you drive for a living or if you were injured while driving at your workplace, then you are more than likely covered.
An example of the former job may be if you are a delivery guy or salesman whose job requires a lot of driving. An example of the latter may be if you move supplies from different buildings on your company’s grounds.
You are covered if you were:
- Driving a company vehicle on company business
- Making deliveries for work
- Running work errands for your boss
- Taking an employee from one job site to another
- Driving for work, and you don’t have a permanent office, such as road salespeople
When you are NOT covered:
- If you were driving on your lunch break and have an accident
- If you are injured on your commute, unless you are paid for your commute time. This is called the ‘coming and going’ rule.
- You were reckless, intoxicated or otherwise caused the accident through your own neglect
- You were breaking the law while driving
- You were breaking company policy
Every Workers’ Compensation motor vehicle accidents case is different and involves a variety of details. Be sure to call us if you need advice. Your details could be vital to making a successful claim.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
If you are in a motor vehicle accident, you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits to cover:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Prescription and out-of-pocket costs
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Scheduled loss of use
However, these benefits will not cover:
- Damage to your personal vehicle
- Pain and suffering
For fatal workplace motor accidents, the worker’s family members may collect certain benefits on behalf of their loved one.
Can You Sue?
If another driver’s negligence caused your accident, then you may be able to bring a civil claim. This claim is separate to your Workers’ Compensation claim.
In a civil or third-party claim, you can sue the driver or their insurance company, and potentially collect money for car damage, lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Can I Make A Workers’ Compensation and Third Party Claim?
You do not necessarily have to choose between making a Workers’ Compensation claim and a third-party claim.
However, if you get a reward from a third-party claim, you may have to ‘pay back’ some of your Workers’ Compensation benefits.
The reason for this is you cannot be compensated twice for the same loss. For example, you cannot have both workers comp and a lawsuit pay for the same medical bill.
The Blame Game?
For driving-related injuries, it can be your word against your employer’s. When a third-party driver or pedestrian is involved, your accident can get even more complicated.
The most important thing is to not let anyone intimidate you and stop from filing a claim because they say it’s ‘your fault.’
Workers’ Compensation cases are not about finding someone to blame. If you were hurt while driving for your job, you are eligible for benefits.
Workers’ Compensation for motor vehicle accidents depends on getting the facts straight and having an experienced attorney on your side. We are here to help fight for what you deserve, so you can focus on getting back to health.
Disclaimer: For informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for legal advice. If you need legal advice please contact us.