Work injuries are a common occurrence in the US and in Pennsylvania. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 2.8 million workplace injuries and illnesses reported during the latest year. While there are various types of injuries that can occur in the workplace, work injuries can also occur in car accidents. Many people wonder whether or not car accident injuries can be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The answer to that can be complicated.
When are you covered by workers’ comp?
In general, all injuries that a person incurs while they are operating within the scope of their workplace duties are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This is true regardless of whether the person injured was at-fault or someone else was at fault.
However, the lines between work and life blur for many people, particularly if they have a work vehicle that they are allowed to take home each day. In most cases, the time you spend commuting to and from work, even in a company vehicle, is off the clock. However, this can get complicated when it comes to insurance issues.
Are you covered by your employer’s carrier or your own?
Many companies allow employees to use company vehicles under the agreement that the employee uses their own insurance in the event an accident occurs outside of work hours.
If you are working when an accident occurs
If you are performing work duties when an accident occurs, you should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, even if you caused the accident. This differs from regular car accident cases in which liability must be determined, making this a benefit of an accident occurring while working (though nobody ever wants to get into an accident).
There are several scenarios in which a person would be covered by workers’ comp in a car accident. This could include if:
- you are running errands for the company
- you are making deliveries
- you are transporting another employee somewhere
- you drive for a living (with the exception of most rideshare drivers)
- you have no fixed office, but rather travel for work
- you are paid for the time you commute to and from work
Contact our Philadelphia workers compensation attorneys if you have any questions regarding your injuries.
What if you are traveling to work in your personal vehicle?
Generally, the time you spend commuting to work is off the clock and not considered work duties. In these cases, a car accident would be treated like any other accident. When this happens, you will want to secure an attorney to help ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible for your injuries. Traditional car accident cases do not mean automatic compensation for injuries, unlike workers’ compensation claims.
Do I need an attorney for these cases?
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were over 128,000 total accidents in the latest reporting year in the Commonwealth. Out of those, 1,190 people died, and over 78,000 were injured.
While Pennsylvania does not track how many accidents involving company vehicles occur, we know that there are many times when employees are injured in car accidents during the course of their work duties. Just like any car accident, victims can sustain serious injuries that lead to tremendous medical bills. It is vital that injured workers get the compensation they need when this happens. Unfortunately, your employer’s workers’ comp insurer may deny or delay a claim, which is not fair for you. In these cases, you may need to secure an attorney who will vigorously pursue the compensation you need for your claim.