Not all jobs keep you behind a desk or counter, or even within a brick-and-mortar place of employment. Many people make a living by driving around their cities and counties each day, and we’re not talking just about truck drivers. The growing “gig economy” has allowed thousands and thousands of Americans to use their cars to make a paycheck, such as working as an Uber driver or food courier. Others drive regularly for work as part of their employer’s instructions, such as an office assistant who is sent down the road to pick up more printer ink.
What happens if you are driving your car, not a company vehicle, when you are in a car accident, but you were driving for a work-related reason? You might be in a unique position to get compensation from two sources.
After a work-related vehicle accident, you can seek compensation from:
- Workers’ compensation: The workers’ compensation policy provided by your employer covers all work-related accidents. It does not only apply to accidents and injuries that happen inside your workplace because, as mentioned, you might not have a workplace. As long as you were driving to complete a job duty or task when the crash happened, even something as simple as picking up food for everyone in your office, you should be covered by workers’ compensation. Of note, though, driving to get yourself food on your lunch break is not a job-related task. In fact, driving to and from work is also not job-related because you are free to choose how you get to work. Essentially, if you weren’t clocked in when the car accident happened, then it probably isn’t covered by workers’ comp.
- Personal injury claim: If your work-related car accident was caused by another driver’s mistakes, then you can probably file a personal injury claim against them, just as you would have had you been in the crash under any other circumstances. Unlike workers’ compensation, though, the car accident claim is fault-based, so you will have to prove that the other driver was negligent and, therefore, liable for what happened. Also, you cannot receive a monetary recovery for the same damage twice. For example, your medical bills are paid in full by your workers’ compensation policy, so you can’t also receive a recovery through your car accident claim for those same medical bills. Typically, when workers’ comp and personal injury cases overlap, the personal injury case is primarily used to seek non-economic damages that aren’t included in workers’ comp.