Car Accident While Working
If you are injured at your place of employment—let’s say an office, warehouse, or factory—you will obviously be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The same rules apply if you are a construction worker and are injured at a remote job site. But, what if you are injured while driving to work or driving in a work related capacity? Workers’ comp laws can be quite complex and vary state to state. If you’ve suffered a work related injury and feel you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, it is a good idea to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before you file your claim or discuss a claim with your employer.
Van Nuys lawyer Kenton Koszdin specializes in representing injured and disabled workers. His seasoned and empathetic legal team takes a personal interest in their client’s present and future well-being. If you’re thinking of filing a workers’ compensation claim, give our office a call at (818) 901-9999, or (800) 438-7734 toll free, for a free consultation.
When Are You “On the Job”?
In general, you ARE NOT eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured in a vehicle accident while driving to or from work. However, you are considered “on the job” and eligible for workers’ comp benefits if you:
- Drive for a living (truck driver, taxi driver, pizza delivery driver, etc.)
- Are running an errand at your company’s request
- Are transporting a fellow employee for a work-related purpose
- Are making deliveries for your employer
- If you travel for work and don’t work out of an office (traveling salesman or sales rep)
- If your company pays you for your travel time, to and from home
There are some exceptions to these rules. For instance, if you were driving to work and stopped to pick up some supplies for your office and were injured in an accident—in that case, you may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Claim Versus Personal Injury Civil Claim
In a workers’ compensation claim, you can only recover damages for medical bills and lost wages because of time off work. You cannot recover compensation for things like property damage or pain and suffering. Furthermore, your employer is NOT required to compensate you for damage to your vehicle, even if you were on an employer commissioned errand when the damage happened. In such a case, you would need to file a civil claim for damages against the other driver.
Another major difference between a workers’ comp claim and a civil claim is the issue of “fault.” In a civil claim, you must prove that the other driver caused the accident and hold them responsible for damages to yourself and your property. In a workers’ comp claim, fault is not an issue. All you need to prove is that you were injured, and you were “on the job” when the injury happened.
As you can see, liability issues surrounding being in a vehicle accident while on a work related activity, or commuting to or from work, are complicated. If you were injured in a traffic accident and are not sure if you need to file a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury civil claim, you need to contact a lawyer with expertise in both personal injury and employee law. The Los Angeles workers’ comp attorneys at Kenton Koszdin Law Office are eager to answer your questions and represent you in whatever legal action you choose to take. Call us at (818) 901-9999, or (800) 438-7734 toll free, for a free consultation.