Car Accidents on the Job
Travel is an important part of the job for many people in North Carolina and across the United States. In many occupations, using a company car is a common practice. It is not unusual that people who routinely drive as part of their job may get into a car crash while working. If you have been involved in a car accident on the job, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Raleigh workers’ compensation attorney who can evaluate the facts of your case and help you seek the benefits that you deserve for your harm.Car Accidents on the Job Can Support a Claim for Benefits
Workers who suffer non-fatal injuries in work-related car accidents can typically seek benefits for medical expenses, lost wages, and disability as long as they were driving as part of their job. Workers’ compensation death benefits may be available to family members of a worker killed in an on-the-job car accident.
It is important to note that the availability of workers’ compensation benefits for a car crash is not contingent on who was at fault for the accident. Even if the injured worker did something to contribute to the crash, they may still be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Receiving benefits for medical expenses and lost wages following an on-the-job car accident also does not preclude the worker from seeking other legal remedies, such as suing a third party whose negligence caused or contributed to the accident. However, there are multiple other North Carolina rules that may affect the claim.The “Coming and Going” Rule
If you get into a car accident while going to or returning from work, the injuries resulting from that accident will typically not be covered by North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act. This is because a person going to or returning from work is “off the clock,” so to speak. In addition, risks associated with driving to and from work are common to all people and not related to the nature of one’s job.
The exception to this rule, however, is if your employer (contractually) agrees to provide you with transportation to or from work in one of the following ways:
- Your employer gives you a car as part of your employment to get to and from work;
- Your employer arranges transportation for you to get to work and return home, such as a company van or car; or
- Your employer reimburses you for gas and mileage as part of your employment.
In these cases, you will be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits for an accident that took place while coming to or going from work.The Special Errand Rule
A worker who is injured in a car crash on the job sometimes may be able to seek workers’ compensation if they were injured while performing an errand or duty beyond the normal job requirements. However, this rule only applies if the court determines that the worker was acting in a manner that specifically benefited the employer. The special errand rule overrides the coming and going rule. This simply means that if a worker runs an errand for the benefit of an employer while going to or coming from work, it will likely be covered by workers’ compensation. For example, if you make a delivery for the employer on your way home, you would likely be covered by workers’ compensation if you get into an accident.The Dual Purpose Rule
The dual purpose rule is an exception to the coming and going rule. When you are driving a car, and it at least partially benefits the employer, an accident may be covered by workers’ compensation. For instance, if a worker goes to the bank to make a deposit for the employer and also makes a separate deposit into their own bank account, workers’ compensation may cover any injuries sustained in a car accident on the way to or returning from the bank. Of course, workers’ compensation will not cover the accident if you only went to the bank to carry out a personal transaction and did not conduct any business for the employer.Contact a Knowledgeable Raleigh Lawyer for Your Work Accident Claim
If you have been injured in a car accident on the job, you should consult a skilled Raleigh attorney who can assess the merits of your case. At Maurer Law, we can help you obtain the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled. We also represent people in Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, and Fayetteville who have been hurt in car crashes, construction accidents, or other workplace incidents. To discuss your case in more detail, call us at 919-229-8359 or contact us online.