Does workers’ comp apply to car accidents?

Workers’ comp benefits can cover costs when someone gets hurt on the job. It can pay a portion of the wages that they’re missing, along with covering their medical bills.

Many workers get injured in car accidents. But they may not be sure if these qualify as workplace accidents or not. Can they still seek benefits if they’ve been hurt in a car crash?

Performing the duties of your job

This is tricky because car accidents may qualify in some situations, and they may not in other situations.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to be performing the duties of your job, as an employee, in order to qualify. For example, some employees have to drive as part of their employment, perhaps if they drop off deliveries. If they’re driving to another location to make a delivery while they’re on the clock, and they get T-boned at a red light, they would be covered by workers’ comp.

That said, workers are not always covered when they’re driving. For instance, the Going and Coming Rule means that your commute does not count. In most cases, an accident on the way into the office in the morning is not going to be covered by workers’ comp benefits, even though you were heading to work at the time of that crash. 

But if your boss gave you a mission or a task to complete during your drive, then you may qualify for workers’ comp benefits. Even though you hadn’t arrived at work yet, you were still performing duties that were related to your job.

As you can see, this can be complex and sometimes contentious. Injured workers must understand all their legal options.

FindLaw Network

View All
Practice areas