Car accidents are common on our congested Georgia roads and highways. Unfortunately, people who drive as part of their job can be killed or seriously injured in a tragic auto crash caused by a negligent driver or their own actions. Are they entitled to workers’ compensation benefits while they are off work recovering from their injuries?
Were You Working When The Accident Took Place?
Construction workers, police officers, attorneys, salespeople, and truck drivers are just a few workers who regularly drive when working. The key issue as to whether workers would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits is whether the injury occurred during the course of the worker’s employment or under the Going and Coming rule. Under the Going and Coming rule, workers are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when they are driving from their home to work or from their job back home at the end of the day.
However, many situations would be considered in the course of employment and allow an injured worker to receive workers’ compensation benefits for his injuries. Some of these situations include the following:
When an employee is driving a company car or truck and is injured while conducting business for his employer, he would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if involved in a truck accident or car crash. If the vehicle had a company logo, he may be entitled to benefits even if he is commuting to work in the vehicle.
Driving during work hours.
When a worker must drive for his job, like truck drivers, police officers, and salespeople, he would be considered injured on the job if he was hurt in an accident while performing these duties. Construction workers, home health aides, attorneys, and other workers who travel between work sites or to other locations during the course of their work day may also be entitled to benefits.
Some employees must go on business trips, attend conferences, and engage in other travel for their jobs. When they are injured in a car accident, they could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This could be true even if the worker is hurt during off-hours when he is not working during his trip.
Errands for employer.
When an employee works on-site and does not drive for his job, he may still be entitled to workers’ comp benefits if he is running an errand or is on a special mission for his employer when hurt in a car accident.
Can an Employee Injured in a Car Accident at Work Bring Both a Workers’ Compensation and a Civil Claim?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in Georgia, which means that an employee would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault—even himself—in causing his car accident as long as it occurred during the course of his employment. In exchange for the receipt of workers’ compensation benefits, the employee is prohibited from filing a civil lawsuit against his employer.
What happens if another driver’s negligence was the cause of the employee’s injuries? In this situation, the worker can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and also file a separate claim for compensation with the negligent driver’s insurance company. This can be very beneficial because a worker is only entitled to payment of his medical bills and a portion of his wages under workers’ compensation.
In a civil lawsuit against the negligent driver, the employee would be entitled to be fully compensated for his injuries. He could be entitled to compensation for his medical bills, full wage losses, and the pain and suffering that he experienced due to his accident and injuries. However, he may need to reimburse his employer for the workers’ compensation benefits he received out of his settlement.
Have You Been Injured At Work?
If you've been injured on the job you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Augusta office directly at 706.863.6600 to schedule your free consultation.