For many employees, performing one’s job duties means hitting the road in a company vehicle or in their own car. Given that motor vehicle accidents are incredibly common on roadways across the country, it is no wonder that injured workers commonly ask what they should expect in the aftermath of such an occurrence and if their injuries and damages are covered by workers’ compensation benefits. If you are required to drive in order to perform your job duties, you should fully understand your legal rights and options in the event of an accident.
What Qualifies as Work-Related?
Generally, for something to qualify as work-related, the employee must be at his or her place of work. However, there are numerous exceptions to this, especially for workers who have to travel as part of their job duties, or for those who do not work from a fixed location. Some of these exceptions include:
- You are running an errand for your employer
- You make deliveries as part of your job duties
- You are asked by your employer to transport another employee
- You travel for work and do not have a fixed location from where you perform your job
- You are sometimes paid by your employer for travel time to or from your home
That said, workers’ compensation insurance does not usually cover car accidents that occur during your commute to or from work, unless you had to perform a work duty on your way to or from the office. For example, if you had to pick up office supplies on your way to work, this might qualify as a work-related accident for which you could receive workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured.
Personal Injury Versus Workers’ Compensation
If another driver is at fault for the motor vehicle accident, you also have the right to bring a personal injury claim against that driver in addition to your workers’ compensation claim. These are two separate processes. When filing a workers’ compensation claim, you will have to do so with the state agency, whereas a personal injury lawsuit would be filed in the local branch of your state's civil court system.
The primary difference between these two different claims is in the damages that can be recovered. A workers’ compensation claim will usually only cover your medical bills and a portion of your lost income, up to a certain maximum. On the other hand, a personal injury claim will also provide compensation for pain and suffering.
To maximize the compensation you receive, you can file both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim against a third party. In some cases, an employer or the insurance company might have a lien against any compensation you receive from a third party. Make sure you hire skilled legal representation to ensure you are able to receive everything to which you are entitled.
Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Orange County
If you sustained an injury while driving a car as part of your job duties, you should not hesitate to file for workers’ compensation benefits. At Alvandi Law Group, P.C. in Orange County, our skilled team of workers’ compensation attorneys is dedicated to fighting on behalf of injured workers. Our law firm has served Southern California for over 30 years and has recovered over $100 million on behalf of our clients. Work with a firm that is solely dedicated to workers’ compensation cases.to request a free initial case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys. You will not owe us any legal fees unless we are able to win your case.