Does Workers’ Compensation Cover a Car Accident While at Work?
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jan 30, 2018 in Workers' Compensation
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation-related accidents were the most common type of fatal work injury in 2016, accounting for 40 percent of all work fatalities for the year. Fortunately, in many situations, these types of accidents are covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
However, although car accidents are common, navigating workers’ compensation claims can be complex, as motor vehicle accidents are only covered by workers’ compensation in certain situations. The experienced Silver Spring workers’ compensation attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan can help guide you through this complex process.
When Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover Car Accidents?
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to workers who sustain an injury during the course of his or her employment while performing work-related duties.
A worker who is injured in a motor vehicle accident may be considered to be performing work-related duties at the time of the accident if he or she was driving for a work-related purpose. This could include situations such as:
- Making a delivery
- Traveling between work locations
- Going on a sales call
- Transporting a colleague for a meeting or other work-related purpose
- Completing a work-related errand that the supervisor requested
- Traveling for work for which the employee is compensated
Some workers are employed in fields that exclusively or primarily involve driving, such as taxi drivers and truck drivers. These workers may be eligible for workers’ compensation if they are injured in an accident that occurs during their work hours.
When Does Workers’ Compensation Not Cover a Car Accident?
Workers’ compensation is only available for accidents that occur within the scope of employment. It does not cover accidents that occur while traveling to or from work or during an unpaid lunch hour or personal break.
Going and Coming Rule
Under the “going and coming rule,” employees are not eligible for workers’ compensation for accidents that occur while they are traveling to work or returning home after work. However, there are exceptions to this rule, namely:
- Transportation paid for by employer - If the employer pays for the employee’s transportation to or from work, the accident may be covered under workers’ compensation. For example, if a worker was driving a company vehicle at the time of the accident, the injury may be compensable.
- Running a work errand - If the worker was performing a special errand at the time of the accident, such as picking up office supplies or a work-related item and the time was compensable, the resulting injury may qualify for workers’ compensation.
- Fulfilling a dual purpose - If the employee was in the vehicle for both professional and personal reasons, he or she might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if the employee was traveling to his or her home where he or she telecommutes, the accident may be compensable.
- On employer’s property - If the worker is on the employer’s property at the time of the accident, it may be covered under workers’ compensation. This type of accident may occur when the employee is injured in the parking lot or a common area.
Is Workers’ Compensation Available if I Caused the Accident?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system, so even if you caused the accident, you may still qualify for benefits. So long as the accident occurred within the scope of your employment, workers’ compensation may be available.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against the Negligent Driver?
In some situations, a worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This is a more desirable option when other damages may be available outside the workers’ compensation program, such as property damage and pain and suffering.
However, filing a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit can be complicated, so it is best to have the guidance of a trusted attorney.
Contact a Maryland Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you were working when you were injured in a car accident, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to you. The skilled workers’ compensation attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan have helped workers pursue maximum benefits after being injured while driving for their job.
Our workers’ compensation lawyers can discuss your legal options during a free, no-obligation consultation. We only get paid for our services if your claim is successful.