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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover a Car Accident While at Work?

damaged work vehicleThe main cause of work-related deaths in the U.S. is motor-vehicle accidents, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Thousands of workers are also injured in car accidents while working. If you were injured in a vehicle crash while performing work duties, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

The Harrisburg workers’ compensation attorneys of Schmidt Kramer have represented accident victims in Pennsylvania for more than 30 years, helping them recover damages for the medical expenses and lost wages they suffered. Our caring and experienced legal team, located in Harrisburg (East Shore), can review your claim during a free initial consultation and advise you if workers’ compensation benefits are available based on the circumstances of your case.

Call (717) 888-8888 for a free consultation.

When Workers’ Compensation Covers a Car Accident

Not all injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. To qualify for benefits, your injury must have occurred during the scope of your employment. This requires showing that you were working and performing job duties at the time of the accident.

Many jobs require workers to travel as an essential function of their job, such as truck and taxi drivers, inspectors, sales and maintenance personnel, as well as home health-care professionals. If these people are working and performing their job duties, it is easier to establish the link between their job and the accident.

Other employees who are injured on the job may have a more difficult time establishing that they were performing work duties at the time of the accident. However, accidents commonly occur when employees are performing job-related duties such as:

  • Making deliveries
  • Driving another employee to a meeting
  • Running an errand for their manager or supervisor
  • Driving from one business location to another
  • Traveling for another work-related reason

Because workers’ compensation operates as a no-fault system, an employee may be eligible for workers’ compensation even if he or she caused the accident.

When Workers’ Compensation May Not Cover a Car Accident

A major exception to when workers’ compensation may cover a car accident is the “coming and going” rule. This rule prohibits workers’ compensation claims that arise out of accidents that occur while an employee is commuting to or from work.

These accidents technically occur before or after an employee’s normal work hours and are generally denied as part of a workers’ compensation claim. Likewise, accidents that occur while the employee is out to lunch and unpaid are usually denied for coverage.

Claims Against the At-Fault Driver

In addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may be able to sue the other driver if the accident was his or her fault. While workers’ compensation is paid by your employer through a workers’ compensation insurance policy, a third-party car accident claim seeks damages from the at-fault driver.

Third-party claims seek compensation for medical expenses and lost wages similar to workers’ compensation benefits. However, they may also seek other damages such as payment for disability, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.

Filing a third-party claim at the same time as a workers’ compensation claim can be complex, since you cannot be paid for the same type of damages multiple times. Insurance companies may also try to deny claims by blaming the other party. It is important to seek competent legal counsel if you decide to pursue a third-party claim.

Contact a Harrisburg Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident while working, it is important to discuss your claim with an experienced attorney who can assess your case and explain the legal options that are available.

The attorneys at Schmidt Kramer are ready to help you recover the benefits you deserve. We will discuss your case at no cost, so you can learn about your legal rights and the possibility of pursuing compensation from your employer or a third party. We work on a contingency, so we only get paid if you recover for the damages you suffered.

Call us at (717) 888-8888 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form to get started.