Auto Accident Settlement
Does workers’ compensation cover me if I was running a work errand and got in a car accident?
In most instances, employees on their way to and from work are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the event of an accident. But, what happens if the accident occurred during work hours while you were technically performing an errand for your employer?
At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, our Florida workers’ compensation lawyers are ready to evaluate your situation and help you determine what you need to do to recover as fully as possible. With our legal guidance and representation, you could receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. The sooner you get in touch with us after an accident, the better your chances of recovering total compensation.
If you have been in a car accident while running an errand for work, it is imperative to understand your legal rights and options. To get an idea of what may be best for your situation, let us start by looking at how to determine when an accident is work-related.
Workers’ Compensation and Work-related Accidents
While workers’ compensation rules vary across state lines, all states require an injury to be work-related to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. While accidents within the workplace are easier to determine as work-related, employees who are in car accidents while driving for a work-related reason may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits.
Your lawyer will evaluate your situation based on the following questions to determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under Florida law:
- Did the injury occur during a regular commute or a work errand?
- Was the trip for personal reasons?
- Did the employee deviate from the work errand for personal reasons?
- Is travel part of the employee’s job?
- Does the employee drive their own car for job responsibilities, or is there a company vehicle?
- Did the employer pay for travel?
- Is reimbursement for work travel part of the employee’s contract?
- Was the travel between multiple worksites controlled by the employer?
- Did the accident occur during entrance or exit from the place of employment?
- What benefits did the employer gain from the employee’s trip?
- Was the employee on-call?
- Was the employee attending an employer-requested event like a conference or training?
- Was the employee transporting work-related materials that presented a hazardous risk?
- Did illegal conduct contribute to the crash?
The answers to those questions will ultimately help your attorney determine whether your claims will fall under workers’ compensation, personal injury liability, or both. Now, let us take a look at the difference between those two types of claims.
Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Claims
Suppose you were involved in an automobile crash while driving within the scope of employment. In that case, you might be able to pursue both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim if another driver caused your accident.
Covered employees file workers’ compensation claims according to state laws. In most instances, the employer files the initial paperwork with the state agency. In some instances, the employee may start the claim with the state’s workers’ compensation agency or appeals board. However, with a personal injury claim, the claim is filed with the liability insurance provider for the driver who hit you. In the event of a lawsuit, the suit is filed in the local branch of the state’s civil court system.
In terms of the most significant difference between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims, there are variations in what an injured party can recover in terms of damages. In a workers ‘ compensation claim, the injured employee typically receives payments for quantifiable losses like medical bills and lost income. There is also a cap for when those benefits will run out. However, with a personal injury claim, the victim has the right to seek compensation for pain and suffering and other types of subjective, non-economic losses.
Another important difference regarding workers’ compensation versus personal injury is the concept of fault. If you are pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, it is unlikely you will need to prove anyone else caused the crash. With a personal injury claim, proving negligence is key.
Determining Who Will Pay for an Accident
If you were running a work errand and got into a car accident, it is important to understand who can be held legally responsible for any related injuries and losses. When determining who should pay for damages, your lawyer will look at who is responsible for the crash, whether special benefits like workers’ compensation are available, and where negligence fits into the situation. There are three possible outcomes regarding who will pay: the employer, the employee, or a third party.
The employer pays for damages if the employee’s actions fall under the legal concept of vicarious liability. Examples include:
- The employee was injured under the scope of employment
- The accident happened while the employee was on the job
- The accident occurred while the employee was performing a work-related task they were hired for
- The employer would have benefited from the task the employee was working on, had it been carried out
There are certain instances where an employee is responsible for a work vehicle accident. Situations include:
- The employee was running a personal errand during work hours when the accident occurred
- The employee was committing a crime when the accident happened
If it is determined someone else’s negligence caused the car accident you were in, the at-fault party also referred to as the third party, is liable for damages. The compensation is paid to both the employee and employer. In scenarios involving an at-fault third party, the employee can seek damages from that party and also file a workers’ compensation claim.
Learn More About Your Legal Options
The attorneys at Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd have been helping victims of workplace accidents in the Treasure Coast obtain compensation for workplace accidents. Our experienced counsel is here to advocate for you.
Workers’ compensation claims involving vehicular accidents and third parties are complex, which is why it is in your best interest to get in touch with a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer. Call us at (866) 460-1990 or contact us online to learn about your rights during a free, no-risk case evaluation.
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