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Can You Get Workers' Comp for a Car Accident?

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on

When you think of a worker's compensation claim, you likely think of someone injured by machinery or a worker who may have been hurt in a fall.

But what about a worker who was involved in a car accident? Although it might not fit the bill of the stereotypical workers' comp injury, an injury caused by a car accident may in certain circumstances be eligible for workers' compensation coverage.

When will a car accident injury qualify for workers' compensation benefits? Here are a few things to consider:

Workers' compensation is the system that allows employees who are injured on the job to recover medical expenses, lost wages, and seek other accommodations. However, workers' compensation benefits only extend to employees whose injuries are work-related.

While work-related injuries generally include injuries sustained at the workplace, they may also include injuries suffered away from an employee's place of work but while performing a job-related task. This can, and often does, include car accidents that occur while an employee is performing a job related task such as:

  • Making a delivery,
  • Running a work-related errand,
  • Driving another employee for work-related purposes, or
  • Travel for which the employee is compensated by the employer.

In addition, workers whose jobs are based on driving or whose vehicles serve as their office may be able to show that their car accident occurred while engaged in work-related activity. Accidents which occur on an employee's own time, including transit to and from work or during a meal break, are not typically considered work-related.

What If You Were at Fault?

Unlike car accident injury cases in civil court, workers' compensation is a no-fault system. This means that even when the employee is at fault for causing his or her own injuries, he or she will generally still be allowed to claim workers' compensation benefits.

However, accidents that occur when a worker is under the influence of drugs or narcotics may not be covered by worker's compensation. So an employee who is found to be driving under the influence will likely be unable to recover for his or her injuries through a workers' compensation claim.

To learn more about worker's compensation benefits, including what types of injuries may be covered by workers' comp and the procedures for submitting a claim, check out FindLaw's section on Workers' Compensation Basics.

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