According to the National Safety Council, transportation accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S., accounting for more than one-third (37 percent) of all work fatalities in a recent year. If you were injured in a car accident at work, you might be wondering whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits or money from another type of injury claim. A workers’ comp lawyer can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your car accident at work and explain your legal options.
Does Workers’ Comp Cover Car Accidents?
Workers’ comp benefits are only available to eligible employees who sustain injuries in the line of duty. This means your car accident injuries will only be covered by workers’ comp if the accident occurred while you were performing work-related tasks, such as:
- Making a delivery for work
- Running a work-related errand
- Transporting another employee for work-related purposes
- Traveling to a training class or another required work event
- Providing transportation to customers, such as with bus or taxi riders
- Driving to off-site job locations
- Driving a company vehicle for other job-related purposes
If the accident did not occur while you were engaged in work-related activities, workers’ comp might not apply. For example, your injuries may not be covered by workers’ comp if you were:
- Driving to get lunch during an unpaid work break
- Stopping off for a personal errand in the middle of driving for work-related tasks
- Commuting to or from work during unpaid hours
- Parking your vehicle in the company parking lot or garage
- Driving while intoxicated or engaged in criminal activity
- Breaking any company policies while driving during work hours
Issues related to car accidents while on the job can be complicated. An experienced worker’ comp lawyer can explain if you can file a workers’ compensation claim or seek other monetary relief following a work-related car accident.
What If I Was At Fault for a Work-Related Car Accident?
If you were partially or completely at fault for the accident, you might be wondering whether you’re still covered by workers’ comp. Fortunately, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means any fault you have for the accident will not prevent you from collecting workers’ comp benefits, as long as you were working within the scope of your employment.
In addition, under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, your employer is legally and financially responsible for injuries or property damage caused by employees performing work-related duties. Therefore, your employer or their insurance provider will likely be responsible for the costs of the injuries and losses suffered by others involved in the wreck.
Can Uber and Lyft Drivers Get Workers’ Comp?
Rideshare drivers who work for companies like Uber and Lyft are legally designated as independent contractors. Because rideshare drivers are independent contractors rather than employees, Uber and Lyft are not generally responsible for providing them with workers’ comp coverage for car accident injuries.
Both Uber and Lyft offer supplemental insurance policies that cover certain expenses if their drivers are involved in accidents while actively logged into a ridesharing app, but these policies may be limited. A workers’ comp lawyer can help you seek financial support if you are injured in an accident as a rideshare driver.
Third-Party Accident Claims and Available Compensation
If your employer provides workers’ compensation coverage, you are typically prohibited from filing a lawsuit against your employer. However, depending on the circumstances, you may have grounds for a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit against other at-fault parties.
With a successful third-party claim, you could be entitled to compensation for the full extent of damages you suffered, including:
- Medical costs
- Incidental expenses
- Vehicle repairs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
Contact a Car Accident Injury Attorney Today
Were you injured in a car accident on the job? Were you in a company vehicle during a car accident? If so, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you determine whether you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Stewart Law Offices today through our online form or call us to learn more about your legal options in a free initial consultation.