You may already know that you’re likely covered by workers’ compensation if you’re hurt while on the job. But what exactly is workers’ comp? And what happens if you’re injured in an auto accident during the course of your work duties? Simply put, workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that certain employers are required to purchase for their employees. If you qualify, workers’ comp will pay for all of your related medical expenses, as well as a portion of lost wages if you’re out of work for a certain length of time. But does worker’s comp cover auto accidents? Here’s a breakdown of the issues involved.
When are car accidents covered by workers’ comp?
A car accident may be covered by workers’ comp regardless of whether the employee was driving a company car or their own vehicle. The main qualifying factor is that the crash happened while the employee was carrying out job-related duties. These might include making a delivery, traveling between worksites, transporting another employee for work-related reasons, or completing any work-related errand. It also includes travel for any work-related purpose for which the employee is being compensated. In other words, if you were on the clock, you’re covered.
The same applies to employees who are considered professional drivers, such as taxi drivers and commercial (CDL) truck drivers. If the accident occurred while the driver was on the job, that driver may be covered.
When are car accidents not covered by workers’ comp?
If you were involved in a minor accident and did not sustain injuries, then you won’t be covered by workers’ comp, since there are no resultant medical bills or lost time from work to recover.
Workers’ compensation also won’t cover injuries stemming from accidents that occurred outside of the scope of employment. For example, this includes accidents that occur during a lunch break, a normal commute between home and work, and during any activities that are not work-related.
What happens if the employee caused the auto accident?
Workers’ compensation is based on no-fault principles. Even if you were the driver who caused the accident, you can still receive compensation if you otherwise qualify for workers’ comp.
Circumstances in which a personal injury lawsuit may be filed
Generally speaking, people who receive workers’ comp are usually not eligible to file a lawsuit. This is designed to protect employers who are on the hook for providing no-fault workers’ comp insurance. However, it may still be possible to file a lawsuit against the other driver. A personal injury attorney will take a close look at the liability issues. If the other driver was at fault for the crash, the injured employee may be able to recover compensation for additional damages that would not be paid by workers’ comp, such as compensation for pain and suffering.
Discuss your case with a seasoned attorney today
Workers’ compensation and auto accident cases can both be complex. When they intertwine, you need legal guidance you can count on from an attorney with experience in both areas of the law. Contact the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers in Lafayette, Louisiana to request a review of your auto accident case. Our skilled legal team can sort through complicated cases to determine the compensation you could be entitled to receive. Veteran workers compensation lawyer Bart Bernard provides aggressive legal representation in and out of the courtroom. Get the help you need today and Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™.
Additional resources on workers’ compensation and auto accidents:
- Louisiana Workforce Commission, Frequently Asked Questions From Employees and Employers about Rights and Responsibilities in Workers’ Compensation, http://www.laworks.net/FAQs/FAQ_WorkComp_RightsAndResponsibilities.asp
- Esurance, The Blame Game: How Fault Is Determined After a Car Accident, https://www.esurance.com/info/car/how-fault-is-determined-after-a-car-accident