Workers compensation is designed to help you if you are injured while working. However, if you are driving while working, you may have some questions about your coverage. If you've been injured in a car accident during work, check out these five must-know facts.
You May Be Covered Under Workers Compensation
Some people drive a lot for their jobs, such as delivery drivers. Other workers may only get out of the office every once and a while for their job. Regardless of what type of job you have, however, you are still covered under workers compensation when you are driving for work, but you have to actually be considered on-the-job during the accident to be covered under workers compensation Typically, actions that are considered on-the-job include running an errand for work, transporting another employee or sometimes getting paid for traveling to and from work.
Mixing Personal and Work Errands Can Make Things Murky
Things can get a little confusing, however, when you mix personal and work errands into one trip. For example, if you drive to the post office for your boss but decide to stop and get a coffee on the way, are you still covered under workers compensation if you get into an accident? The answer is maybe. If the accident occurred while you were on your way to the post office, you're probably fine, but if the accident happened when you were getting the coffee, you probably aren't covered. The lines can get blended here, so if you mixed a personal errand and work errand and were injured, your best bet is to get a workers compensation lawyer, such as those at Wolter, Beeman & Lynch, to help you muddle through.
You Aren't Covered if You Were Breaking the Law
If you were breaking the law when the accident occurred, you probably won't be covered under workers compensation. This does not usually include minor traffic violations, such as speeding or running a red light. However, larger traffic violations, such as hit and run or driving while intoxicated may be enough to prevent you from getting a workers compensation settlement.
It Doesn't Matter if You're Driving Your Own Car or a Company Vehicle
Some companies have company vehicles, which you may be allowed to use to run work-related errands. Most companies that have company vehicles have commercial auto insurance, which covers employees when they are driving the company vehicles. However, whether your company has cars or not, it doesn't matter. You don't have to be driving a company vehicle to be covered under workers compensation. You just need to be working, so whether you're driving a company car, your own car or your boss' car, you may still qualify for workers compensation if you were on the job when you were injured.
In Some Cases, You Can File a Civil Claim
If the other driver caused the accident, you may be able to file a civil claim against them. The benefit of filing a civil claim is that you can get additional money. Workers compensation only covers some of your lost wages, and it doesn't cover pain and suffering. Filing a civil claim allows you to sue for your remaining lost wages and pain and suffering. You can file both a workers compensation and civil claim, but you can't get more money than you are owed. Most likely, if you win your civil claim, you'll have to repay some or all of your workers compensation benefits.
As long as you were working and not breaking the law when the accident occurred, you should be covered under workers compensation. However, if you were also running a personal errand or someone else caused the accident, contact a car accident attorney who can help maximize your settlement.