The odds of getting involved in a car accident are high enough that it is often a matter of when, not if, you will get into a crash in Arizona. If you have the misfortune of getting into a car accident on your way to work, you may wonder if you are eligible for workers’ compensation insurance benefits. The answer depends on the specific circumstances surrounding your case, and a Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine whether or not you qualify for coverage.

Workers’ Compensation Does Not Cover Daily Commutes

The workers’ compensation system in Arizona is in place to allow injured employees to easily get reimbursed for losses associated with an injury or illness that occurs as a result of their jobs. Workers’ comp will cover almost any injury or illness that arises in the scope and course of the worker’s employment. Benefits to pay for a worker’s necessary past and future medical care, disability costs, lost wages, and other losses are available without requiring proof of negligence or someone else’s fault for the accident. 

Under Arizona law, injuries that arise from car accidents that occur on a worker’s daily commute to work are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. A worker is not viewed as being on the clock during his or her normal drive to or from the office. Instead, this is the worker’s personal time that is not paid by the employer. Therefore, car accidents that occur while the employee is driving to work are not covered incidents under the workers’ compensation program. Instead, the driver will need to turn to an automobile insurance company for coverage.

Workers’ Compensation Does Cover Work-Related Drives

If the worker was driving to the office as a work-related activity or while the worker was on the clock, however, related injuries are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. These circumstances mean that the injuries occurred out of and in the course of employment. This is the only requirement to be eligible for workers’ compensation coverage in Arizona. Examples of individuals who may qualify for workers’ comp after getting into an accident on the way to work are: 

  • Commercial truck drivers
  • Delivery truck drivers
  • Mail delivery drivers
  • Taxicab drivers
  • School bus drivers
  • City bus drivers
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Firefighters and paramedics
  • Paid travel time to and from work
  • Running an errand related to work or for the boss
  • Injured by a vehicle at a place of work
  • Transporting another employee
  • Traveling for work

Note, however, that car accidents may not be covered by workers’ comp if the driver was taking a personal break or making a detour, such as stopping for coffee. The injured driver will need to prove that the car accident took place in the course and scope of employment, meaning that he or she was performing a job-related task or was being paid to drive for the employer at the time. If the driver is covered by workers’ comp, these benefits could pay for several past and future losses even if the driver is at fault for the crash.

Coverage for a Car Accident on the Way to Work

If workers’ compensation does not cover a car accident that takes place on your drive to the office, you can file a car insurance claim for coverage instead. Arizona is a fault-based car insurance state, meaning the driver or person who caused your crash is responsible for paying for your property damage and medical bills. If you can prove that the other driver caused your crash, his or her insurance company will be financially responsible for your wreck. If you are found to be at fault, however, you will rely on your own car insurance coverage for benefits.

To discuss a potential workers’ compensation claim after a crash on the way to the office, consult with a Scottsdale car accident lawyer at Stone Rose Law during a free case consultation.

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