Are Car Accidents Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Vehicle accidents are not uncommon. However, one aspect that many people do not think about is getting into a car accident while working. When that happens, it is important that victims understand how they will be compensated for their injuries. Vehicle accidents that take place while a person is working can become complicated concerning settlements. If you were in a car accident while working, don’t hesitate to contact the Nashville car accident lawyers at our Tennessee law firm.
Car accidents at work are not uncommon
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries or illnesses during the latest reporting year. Many of these injuries were the result of car accidents that happened during the scope of a person’s work duties. Various industries require that their employees use a vehicle. Sometimes driving is the bulk of a person’s work duties. Other times, a worker may be required to commute from one office to another or run occasional errands. Regardless of how a vehicle accident happens, the injuries a person can sustain in an accident can be serious.
According to data from Tennessee officials, there were 148,090 total accidents in the state for the 2019 year. Out of those, 774 were fatal crashes, and 35,812 were injury crashes. Car accidents are not uncommon in this state, and they inevitably will involve those who are working at the time of the crash.
Why would workers’ compensation cover these incidents?
Under Tennessee law, workers are only able to receive benefits through workers’ compensation insurance if their injuries happened during the scope of their employment. This means that a person must have been working and performing tests related to their job in order to receive workers’ compensation.
Under those requirements, workers’ compensation insurance should cover car accidents that happen when an employee is performing a job-related task. This can include:
- making deliveries
- traveling for compensated work-related reasons
- driving another employee for their business purposes
- running work-related errands
- driving from one work site or office to another
What if the employee was at-fault for the incident?
Workers’ compensation claims are different than car insurance claims or civil personal injury cases. Workers’ comp claims are considered “no-fault,” which means that a person does not have to prove another party is liable for the injury in order to receive benefits. Even workers who caused their own injuries are generally able to recover compensation through this system.
What kind of compensation is available?
Workers’ compensation benefits typically cover all medical expenses related to the workplace injury. These benefits will also cover a significant portion of any lost income you incur if you cannot work while you recover from your injuries. Typically, temporary disability benefits will pay two-thirds of your average weekly wage. If you are able to work but are earning less because you have to work fewer hours, you can receive temporary partial disability benefits to raise your pay while you recover.
Can an injured worker file a claim against another driver?
If another driver’s careless or negligent actions caused your car accident, you may also be able to file a claim against that driver. Under the workers’ compensation system, injured workers have the right to file claims against third parties who cause an injury. However, doing so could be difficult and will likely require assistance from an attorney. Unlike a no-fault workers’ comp claim, a third-party claim will require that you prove that the other driver caused the accident.