How to Determine if Your Car Accident is Work Related
For some injured workers, it’s certainly easy to determine if a car accident is work related. In fact, let’s take this a step further and include all motor vehicles. Learn some important information about workers’ compensation as it relates to car crashes, bus accidents, and other forms of transportation accidents.
Workers’ compensation benefits are considered primary when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. This happens when there is evidence that the injured party was in the course of their employment when the accident occurred.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Motor Vehicle Accidents
It might seem apparent that some motor vehicle accidents are considered work related. For example, people whose job entails driving are often entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when involved in an accident. But, not always. Let’s break it down.
Course of Employment: This is the first test of whether the motor vehicle accident is work related. New Jersey law defines when employment commences. Someone could be considered to be in the course of their employment in the following circumstances:
- Bus operator or truck driver
- Policemen, fireman, or first aid or rescue squad members responding to an emergency scene
- Salesperson travelling from one customer location to another
- Employee directed to travel for company business
- Repair or service person visiting multiple job sites
- Someone injured in employer arranged transportation, such as a company van picking up employees at home or a specified location.
Exclusion for Commute to Work: We gave you some examples concerning travel that could be considered in the course of an injured worker’s employment. New Jersey law recognizes something known as the “going and coming rule”. This means there are certain exceptions regarding motor vehicle accidents and workers’ compensation benefits. Here are some examples:
- Employee who is injured while commuting to a regular desk job
- Someone who drives for a living and takes a detour for a personal errand
- Factory worker injured while using public transportation to commute to the plant
Workers Compensation Benefits are Primary: If you are found to be in the course of your employment and are injured in a motor vehicle accident, workers’ compensation benefits are primary. This means the workers’ compensation carrier is responsible for providing you authorized medical care and temporary disability benefits if you lose time from work. You may also be entitled to an award for partial or total permanent benefits.
Unless it can be proven that the motor vehicle accident occurred because you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it will not matter if you caused the motor vehicle accident. Workers’ compensation benefits are available regardless of fault.
If another party caused the accident that resulted in injuries, a claim may be pursued against the other driver. An experienced personal injury attorney will coordinate the cases in accordance with the law.
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have extensive experience handling both workers’ compensation and motor vehicle accident cases. Not sure if your injuries are work related or not? Contact us to see how we can assist you regarding your accident claim.