America’s car culture means practically every adult not only has a car but also needs one. For most of us, going to and from work without an automobile would be impossible. The normal morning routine is hopping in the car and driving to your workplace, whether or not there’s bad traffic ahead.
What happens if you get hit by a negligent driver while in traffic and on the way to work? Are you eligible for workers’ compensation since you were on the way to your job when you are injured? Unfortunately, the answer for most people is, not likely.
Workers’ Compensation is for Work-Related Accidents
In order to be given workers’ compensation benefits, your accident or injuries must have occurred for a work-related reason or while fulfilling an expected job duty. Driving to work is not technically a job duty or a work-related process. Why would going to work not be work-related, though?
The logic is that you have the ability to get to and from work however you want. You do not need to drive your own automobile to get there. You could walk, ride your bicycle, take a taxi, use public transportation, and so forth. The distance you live from your workplace is also outside of your employer’s control, so they have no way of knowing how much traffic you will encounter on a given day.
Going to work is also not a job expectation unique to any position. It is inherently part of employment at any job that does not offer the opportunity to work from home. All of these outlying factors make it so that your employer is not accountable for what happens when you are driving to work.
What If Your Drive is Work-Related?
Of course, there are many occupations that make driving and traveling part of the daily job expectations. Couriers who carry products from one location to another or food to customers need to drive their automobiles throughout the day. If they get hit while completing a route, then they should be covered by workers’ compensation.
Driving for your job does not need to be listed in your job description in order for you to be eligible for workers’ compensation after being in a work-related car accident. You simply need to be completing some sort of task related to your job. For example, if you are sent to the nearest office supply store for printer ink and get hit by a drunk driver while on the way there, then you can seek workers’ compensation benefits for your resulting damages, even though your job description probably does not say something like “Will drive for shopping errands” in it.
Have More Questions? Call (818) 946-0608
There are plenty of gray areas in workers’ compensation law that can make finding out if you have a valid claim or not difficult. The smallest details in your job-related accident could dramatically change how the responding insurance company handles your claim or what types of benefits you can seek. Matters only get more complicated if you are hurt outside of your workplace while performing an irregular job duty.
To get some clarity into your situation and legal guidance when you need it the most, come to the Law Offices of Wax & Wax, serving Santa Clarita, Glendale, and other nearby cities. We are a team of workers’ compensation lawyers with more than 100 years of collective legal experience. You can bet that we will be able to get to the bottom of your case and any questions you might have about it with no trouble at all.
Get a free consultation with our law firm today to begin.