Generally, workers compensation covers your medical bills and a portion of your wages whenever you are injured while working. The issue of fault or the type of injury is irrelevant. As long as you were working, you are covered. The issue of workers compensation becomes more complicated if you were injured while on your way to work. In most cases, you will not be covered. You are not considered working until you arrive in a company parking lot or enter the company building. However, there are some important exceptions to this rule. These include:
- If you’re running an errand for your boss on your way to work
- If you drive for a living or if you travel as part of your job
- If your employer pays for your travel time
- If you are driving a company car
Special Mission Exception
If you are running an errand for your boss such as picking up supplies or making a delivery, this counts as a “special mission.” It doesn’t matter if this is done before you arrive at work or before work hours begin. If it is a task that furthers your boss’s business or is part of your job responsibility, your travel will count as work-related.
There is now a gray area concerning phone and email work that is done while you are driving. If you are doing an important work-related task, such as a teleconference, or communicating with a client, this may count as a special mission, and you may be entitled to compensation. However, this is not true in every case, and some employers and insurance companies will not accept this as work-related.
Third Party Claims
Ordinarily with workers compensation, you receive benefits, but you lose your ability to file a personal injury claim. It is true that workers compensation takes away your ability to sue your employer, but if you are in a driving accident caused by another driver, you are allowed to sue that driver. This is called a third party claim. Workers compensation will cover your medical expenses, but it will only provide a portion of lost wages and will give you nothing to repair your car or compensate you for pain and suffering. If you are able to file a suit against the other driver, you will be able to request compensation for your full lost wages, car repairs, and pain and suffering.
It is important to remember that your employer and insurer may have subrogation rights. This means that if a third party was at fault for your injury and you are able to get compensation, a portion of that compensation will be used to reimburse the employer’s workers compensation benefits given to you. This is to prevent you from getting paid twice for lost wages and medical expenses.
If you were injured on your way to work, contact the offices of Bighorn Law immediately. Our attorneys can help you get the justice you deserve, whether that is through workers compensation, a personal injury claim, or both.