Worker's Compensation Coverage for a Car Accident?

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Workers compensation coverage for a car accident is available to an employee who is injured while driving as part of his job duties.  Worker’s compensation is designed with the intention of helping an injured employee who has medical costs or lost wages as a result of an injury caused by a work-related accident.  Employers are required by law to carry worker’s compensation insurance for all employees. There are state and federal requirements. It is a no-fault system which means that an employee does not have to prove the employer was negligent in order to recover damages and also means the employee may be reimbursed even if the accident was his own fault.  Worker’s compensation on a state level varies from state to state because the laws of each state are different. 

What Is a Work-Related Injury?

An employee who is injured while lifting something heavy, or who suffers carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of repetitive work duties is entitled to worker’s compensation. Similarly, if an employee’s job duties include driving to and from customer sites, or to and from delivery sites, an injury resulting from an accident during work hours may be eligible for worker’s compensation. Worker’s compensation is typically not available to an employee who is injured in a car accident while driving to or from work.

Limits on Worker’s Compensation

Generally speaking, an employee who files a worker’s compensation claim cannot also file a lawsuit and in some instances an employee may not be file a lawsuit against his employer regardless of whether he files a worker’s compensation claim.  There are caps on how much an individual may be able to recover following a car accident through worker’s compensation and it is often less than a worker may be able to recover through a personal injury lawsuit.  There are also limits on the types of damages allowed. Some worker’s compensation claims cannot include pain and suffering, but a personal injury lawsuit can.

If an employee is at fault in a car accident while working, it may be to his benefit to use the no-fault worker’s compensation system. If an employee was struck by another vehicle, for example while working on road construction, his injuries may exceed what is available through worker’s compensation and a personal injury lawsuit may be a better avenue for recovering damages.

Getting Legal Help

Determining whether to file a worker’s compensation claim or to file a personal injury lawsuit can mean a huge difference in the amount of damages an injured employee might recover following a car accident on the job.  An experienced personal injury attorney can help an accident victim decide what the best route is for recovering compensation for injuries, wage loss, and other damages.