Yes. Whether they’re professional drivers or occasionally run errands for work, a lot of people wonder whether their car accident is covered by workers’ compensation. In cases where an employee was driving for work or to benefit the company, car wrecks are indeed covered by workers’ comp.
In Illinois, virtually all employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance and provide coverage to their employees. If you are covered by workers’ comp, your work-related car accident is probably covered, as long as any of these applies:
- Your occupation is driving and the wreck occurred while you were doing your job
- You were running a work-related errand when the wreck occurred
- You were driving another worker for a work-related purpose when the wreck occurred
- The wreck occurred while you were traveling and you were being compensated for that travel
On the other hand, car accidents that occur on your commute into work or on your way home are generally not covered by workers’ comp because they are not considered work-related.
Does it matter if I was at fault?
For the purposes of your workers’ comp claim, no. This is because workers’ comp is a no-fault system. As long as you were working when the wreck happened and you are covered by workers’ comp, it usually doesn’t matter if you were at fault.
However, your workers’ comp claim could be denied if you were drunk or impaired by illegal drugs and that caused the wreck.
It’s important to understand, as well, that an employee who was injured in a car wreck could still have a personal injury claim against the other driver or whoever was responsible for the wreck. In this personal injury case, it does matter if you were at fault.
A good attorney should be able to identify if you have a personal injury claim on top of your workers’ comp claim.
Are all professional drivers covered by workers’ comp?
Not necessarily. Unfortunately, many delivery drivers are classified as independent contractors, not employees. If you are working as an independent contractor, you have no employer to provide workers’ comp insurance for you. You should consider buying workers’ comp insurance for yourself.
What else do I need to know?
To make a workers’ comp claim, you need to officially report your accident and injuries to your employer. This generally needs to be done within 45 days or you risk losing your benefits. You should put together a file and keep records of all your medical care and detailed notes about your ability to work and how the injury is affecting your life.
You can get an attorney at any point in your workers’ comp claim, including the initial filing.