Many people assume that you are covered under workers’ compensation for injuries in a car accident as long as you are on the clock when the accident occurred. If you get into an accident, you get compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other such costs. It’s the same as if you got hurt falling off of a ladder or using power tools.
This can be true — and often is. Car accidents are one of the main ways that workers get hurt, especially in occupations where they drive frequently, and these do often get treated just like any other accidents. Accidents are a hazard of the job and you are covered.
However, do not assume that this is true all the time, in 100 percent of cases. It often depends on the scope of your employment and what you were doing at the time that you crashed. Were you actually working? Did your employment itself put you at risk? Your entitlement is about more than just being on the clock.
After all, if you’re running personal errands in a company car, they typically do not have to cover you. You’re not working as an employee at the time. Even if your employee handbook tells you that you can use your company car on your personal time, after work — a nice perk for many employees — this does not mean that any accident is now a work-related accident.
But don’t think that you’re always covered just because you’re technically on the clock. Even after you sign in, if you opt to run those personal errands anyway, the company may not want to offer compensation for accident-related injuries. Your employer may argue that you were never supposed to be doing that in the first place, so the injury did not come while you were working within the real scope of your employment. Just getting hurt during work hours is not always enough to guarantee compensation.
As you can see, it is very important to understand your legal options after an injury. This can get very complicated.