Driving is a naturally hazardous job to do, since no matter how attentive and skilled a driver is, he can always fall prey to less attentive and less skilled drivers. It’s just how things go.
The main question that imposes here is: does a driver’s Workers Compensation cover potential motor vehicle accidents or not? It is crucial that drivers know their rights before they sign the employment paperwork, and not afterwards.
It is generally assumed that Workers Compensation only covers accidents that occurred while operating work machinery, but that’s quite far-fetched.
The No-Fault System
You should know right off the bat that Workers Compensation will most probably cover a car accident you’ve been in regardless of whether you were the faulty party or not.
If you hit another vehicle, for example, and you subsequently injure the driver or cause damage to his car, both you and your employer can be the subjects of a lawsuit.
Don’t lose your head yet: if you have Employer’s Liability Insurance, it’s your employer that’ll have to pay all the legal fees associated with the lawsuit. Your employer will also have to cover the following expenses for you: wages you’ve lost, your medical bills and the pain and suffering damages.
Drivers WILL NOT be covered by their employers if they were drunk or on drugs when they caused the accident, however. In that case, the employees will be responsible for their actions.
What If The Accident Wasn’t The Driver’s Fault?
In this case, it is important to know the difference between a Worker’s Compensation claim and a Civil Claim. If you were involved in an accident that occurred as a result of another party, you can file a civil injury claim.
Under this claim, you will get your pain and suffering and vehicle damages covered. If you choose to file a Worker’s Compensation claim, that will only cover your medical expenses and the wages you’ve lost.
We know that things are confusing. The fact that the laws in this regard differ from state to state doesn’t really help, either.
In order to qualify for Workers Compensation in case of an accident, that accident must take place during work – when you are delivering something, for example.
If the accident happens when you drive the vehicle to work, that won’t be construed as a work-related accident, therefore you might not be awarded any Workers Compensation benefits.
To put it like this: if the accident is job-related, then yes, Workers Compensation will cover you even if you were at fault (it depends on the state you live in, though).
The Bottom Line
Filing a job injury claim is a serious matter, therefore you should have a thorough understanding of the legislature in respect with Workers Compensation and Civil Injury Claim.
The good news is that Workers Compensation benefits are offered in case of car accidents. We recommend that you discuss this issue with your employer during your interview in order to find out what the company’s policy on Workers Compensation is.