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Workers’ compensation and job-related car accidents

| Feb 20, 2021 | Workers Compensation |

In Florida, workers’ compensation pays employees who get injured on the job a portion of their income. Whether or not the claim gets approved depends on if the injury relates directly to work. Injuries that occur out of the scope of employment, such as running a personal errand, are normally exempt.

The “going and coming” rule and exceptions

Workers’ comp typically does not cover employees for traffic accidents outside the scope of their employment, for example, the commute back and forth to work. Employers are only required to cover injuries that happen on the job, a concept often referred to as AOE/COE. AOE/COE means the accident arose out of employment or during the course of employment.

There are some exceptions to the coming and going rule as it relates to commuting. If an employee drives between work sites in their personal vehicle or company vehicle, this could fall under the category of employment. This also includes an employee who runs special errands for their boss. Going to the bank on company business would be an example.

Employees who travel as a routine part of their job commonly have coverage. However, a worker found under the influence of drugs or alcohol usually forfeits that coverage.

Third-party lawsuits

If an employee opts for workers’ compensation, they are no longer able to sue their employer. The employee’s choice to receive workers’ compensation relieves the employer of liability.

However, the employee still could seek compensation through third-party lawsuits, which can sometimes be more beneficial than workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation does not account for long-term future lost wages or pain and suffering. If a third party caused a work-related accident, the employee may be able to get workers’ compensation plus damages awarded from the lawsuit. Third-party cases commonly get settled out of court through compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance.

It can be tricky to determine which injuries qualify for workers’ compensation, and the laws in each state differ. If a driver has doubts about how to claim an injury or thinks they need to sue a third party, they should seek the assistance of an attorney.

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