Injured in a Car Accident - Can I Claim Workers' Compensation?

by James M. Hoffmann on Nov. 12, 2014

Employment Workers' Compensation Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Car Accident 

Summary: Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system; however, there are certain cases when the coverage is not so clear, like when a worker is injured in an automobile accident.

For example, if a construction worker becomes injured when a crane drops a load on him, the injuries will be covered under workers’ compensation; however, a worker getting injured during the workday in a car accident may or may not be covered under workers' compensation. The worker may file a claim under the workers’ compensation, or a personal injury lawsuit against the erring driver, or both depending on the circumstances of the accident.

Injured In the Course of Employment

Missouri workers’ compensation law states that covered employees will be eligible for compensation for injuries sustained during the course of employment. When a worker is injured in a car accident, the first question that arises is whether the employee has been injured in the course of employment or not. These cases are so fact-sensitive that it is advisable to consult a Missouri workers' compensation lawyer to help and guide you through the legal process so that your rights are protected. There are, however, certain guidelines which you can follow before filing a car accident claim.

Driving For Work

Does your job involve driving for most of the day? For example, a salesperson, a delivery driver, a home health aide, or a construction worker would spend a good part of your day driving. If you get injured in a car accident while you are on your way to attend to your job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation since the relation between the injury and the job is quite clear.

Those who rarely drive during the normal workday, or have been injured before the start and after the end of the workday, or have clocked out for lunch and are involved in a car accident may not be eligible for workers’ compensation. There are certain exceptions to this rule. If you have been asked by your boss to pick up pizzas for the office staff while you have clocked out for lunch, you may still claim that you have been injured in the ‘course of employment’. If your boss asks you to make a work-related stop while traveling to or from work and you get injured in a car accident, you may still qualify for workers’ compensation.

If you are covered under workers’ compensation, you cannot file a traditional lawsuit against your employer for injuries sustained in a car accident; however, you may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver at fault. Workers’ compensation benefits provide for medical expenses and wage loss sustained due to the injury; however, it may fall short than the actual expenses incurred. It is advisable to file a personal injury lawsuit against the erring driver as the lawsuit may cover for non-economic damages or pain and suffering damages.

If you are unsure about whether or not your case qualifies for workers' compensation benefits, consult with The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.

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