You’re driving the company car when another driver rear-ends you. Is that a work injury or does it go under car insurance?
After clocking out for the day, you get run over in the company parking lot. Does your employer cover your injuries or are you on your own?
In both scenarios you would have a workers’ compensation claim, and possibly a personal injury case as well.
On-duty vehicle accidents are considered work injuries
New Jersey workers’ compensation covers you in most cases if you are injured in a vehicle accident in some work-related capacity:
- Driving a truck for work
- Driving or riding in a company car
- Conducting company business in your own vehicle
- Traveling between work sites
- Running work-related errands after hours or weekends
- On company property, including the parking lot
There are exceptions. Driving to and from work is typically not considered on duty. Driving to lunch is typically not covered by workers’ comp, unless you are on call through your lunch break.
Could I have a claim against the other driver?
Generally, you can bring a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver if they are not in your chain of employment. (You could not sue a co-worker for crashing into you at a work site, or for backing into you in the company lot.)
It’s common, and perfectly legal, to have both a workers’ comp claim and a personal injury claim for your on-duty vehicle accident. Workers’ compensation covers you automatically, regardless of who was at fault. A personal injury claim enables you to seek damages not available under workers’ comp, such as compensation for pain and suffering.
Don’t try to manage these claims yourself
There are various circumstances where these general rules would not apply. The employer’s insurer or medical providers may have a lien on your personal injury proceeds. Talk to an attorney who regularly handles both workers’ compensation and third-party personal injury lawsuits.