It seems like half the cars on the road have an emblem on their door or a decal on the window that's advertising a business. With so many company cars in constant motion, who picks up the tab when they end up in a fender bender?
What if I'm in an accident while at work?
Workers' compensation will cover a car crash, provided it meets the right criteria. Whether you're a delivery driver with a hot pizza, a courier with a time sensitive package or if you're running to Staples to pick up some emergency printer ink, if it was an on the job task it's worker's compensation. You don't have to be a driver by trade, just driving or even riding in a vehicle for work-related purposes. This includes transportation to and from "on the clock" functions such as a company picnic that takes place during your usual workday but outside of the office.
There are exceptions to the rule, but the key factor is if you were performing a work task. This could mean picking up an item en route to work before you were technically on the clock. In contrast, if you were running a work errand, but took a detour for a personal stop, then you would not be covered.
What should I do at the scene?
The same essential process should be following in all car accidents:
- Pull over.
- Check the health of everyone involved.
- Call the police and file a detailed police report of the incident and damage.
- Take your own notes about the crash.
- Visit a doctor.
Atop these usual practices, you'll need to notify your employer as soon as possible so the appropriate paperwork can be filed on their end, including workers' compensation. Do not admit fault to your employer or in the police report.
What if I'm in an accident on my commute?
Personal driving is never eligible for workers' compensation, though there may be exceptions if your employer offers payment for travel time, if you're on a business trip or if you travel frequently and have no permanent office. In essence, you must be performing a job related duty to be covered.
What does workers' compensation cover?
Workers' compensation will cover your medical care and lost work time, but damages will not be included. This means you'll need to file a separate civil claim to cover expenses and personal loss.
To recoup damage to a vehicle and any other mental anguish, you'll need to file against the offending driver's insurance company too. It's likely that your employer will join the suit, perhaps even initiate it, and will share in any awarded compensation to cover their own damages (such as the cost of your workers' compensation).
After a job related crash you'll be navigating paperwork from your employer, your insurance company, the other vehicle's insurance, workers' compensation claims and possibly additional insurance or legal counsel at work. You'll also need to visit a doctor, the auto body shop and maybe even the dealership to find a new vehicle.
Having your own legal representation can connect the streams while keeping your best interests at the center. Car accidents happen frequently. The most important thing after a crash shouldn't be worrying about your paperwork, it should be your well being and knowing that someone is looking out for you.