Vehicle Accidents on the Job – Workers’ Comp or Personal Injury?

Vehicle accidents can easily lead to injury, and there are many laws in place that allow victims in these accidents to recover compensation. In most cases, a severe car crash will warrant a personal injury case, but in very specific circumstances, you may be able to get workers’ compensation if you were driving a company vehicle.

Here, we’ll go over just what circumstances warrant workers’ comp versus personal injury in the case of a corporate vehicle accident.

Immediate Scope of Employment

In order to be considered for workers’ compensation, the accident must have occurred while you were acting in the immediate scope of your employment. This means that if you were driving a company vehicle to a work-related appointment, making a delivery for work, or performing some other job-related task, you could make a case for workers’ compensation.

Personal injury has nothing to do with whether the accident occurred during the course of normal job-related tasks. Instead, it’s based on who is at fault for the accident.

Your Vehicle vs. Company Vehicle

Odds are, if you’re driving a company vehicle, you are acting in the immediate scope of your employment and can therefore recover workers’ comp benefits in the event of an injury. However, if you’re driving a company car, truck, or other vehicle for purposes completely unrelated to work, you will likely be denied benefits. However, you could still recover personal injury damages depending on the nature of the accident.

If you are driving your own vehicle, you might still qualify for workers’ comp if you’re doing so in a work-related capacity. Just note that under Illinois law, you can’t count driving to and from work as a job-related task, so if you are injured while commuting to the office, you won’t get workers’ comp for it. Again, you could still recover damages from a personal injury case, however.

Nature of the Accident

The main deciding factor in whether you can recover damages for personal injury is the nature of the accident. Personal injury cases are fault-based. If the other driver was at fault for the accident, you will likely be able to recover damages. If you were at fault, then you-or rather, your insurance company-will be the party to pay out.

If you were partially at fault, the amount you recover will be based on a comparative negligence standard. If it is found that you were less than 50% at fault for an accident, you’ll recover some damages, though not all if you had some part in causing your injuries. More than 50% fault means you’ll be unable to recover anything.

Workers’ compensation is independent of fault, and thus you could still receive benefits even if the accident was your fault.

The Verdict

Simply put, if the accident occurred while you were on the job, you can get workers’ comp. If the other party was at fault, you can recover personal injury damages as well. For assistance resolving these types of cases and other personal injury or workers’ comp claims, contact a trusted lawyer at Hart & David.