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Does Florida Workers Compensation Cover Car Accidents?

If you were injured in a crash while driving for work, you may be wondering if you will qualify for workers comp for a car accident. While the situation is pretty straightforward when it comes to an injury that occurred at the workplace or when you’re performing an activity associated with your employment, it is considerably more complicated if the injury occurred while traveling for work.

Moreover, in some situations you may be able to file both a personal injury claim and a workers compensation claim for your injury. This article highlights what you need to know if you’ve been in a car accident while on the job, and how a Fort Myers, Florida workers comp attorney can help you make the most of your situation.

When Does Workers Compensation Cover Car Accidents?

Under Florida law, most employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance to cover employee injuries arising from their employment, regardless of fault.

Determining workers comp for a car accident in our state hinges on two critical elements: the scope of employment and the resulting work-related injury. Both factors are anchored in specific statutory provisions that guide legal interpretations.

Within the Scope of Employment

Florida Statute § 440.002 defines an “injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment” as a prerequisite for worker’s compensation coverage. This phrase, dissected meticulously by courts, requires a two-pronged analysis:

  • Course of Employment: This determines whether the accident occurred during the timeframe and geographical boundaries of your job duties. For example, an accident while making deliveries falls within the “course” of a delivery driver’s employment. However, an accident while running personal errands during your lunch break would not.
  • Arising Out of Employment: This element demands a more substantial connection between your job duties and the accident. The injury must result from a risk inherent in your job or a natural incident associated with it. For instance, a construction worker getting hit by a falling object on-site likely satisfies this element, while a marketing agent injured in a random car accident on the way to a client meeting might not.

Case-Specific Nuances

Courts often consider “traveling employee” exceptions to expand the scope of employment for individuals whose jobs demand frequent travel. For example, a traveling salesperson injured while driving between client visits could potentially qualify, depending on the specific details of the trip and company policies.

Statutory Exclusions

However, Florida law explicitly excludes certain injuries from workers compensation coverage even if they occur within the scope of employment. These include:

  • Injuries caused by the employee’s intoxication
  • Injuries self-inflicted or due to willful misconduct
  • Injuries sustained during horseplay or pranks
  • Injuries arising from fighting or assaulting another person

you may qualify for workers comp after a car crash

Work-Related Injuries

Even if the accident occurred within the scope of employment, worker’s compensation only covers injuries directly resulting from the car accident and demonstrably impacting your ability to work. This is defined as a “compensable injury,” an injury causing “death, total or partial disability, or impairment of physical or mental function.”

Benefits Available Under Workers Compensation

If your car accident qualifies for workers compensation coverage, you may be entitled to:

  • Medical expenses: Coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to your injury, including doctor visits, surgery, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost wages: Partial wage replacement if your injury prevents you from working, typically two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a specific maximum.
  • Disability benefits: If your injury results in a permanent disability, you may receive ongoing payments based on the severity of your impairment.
  • Death benefits: In case of a fatal accident, your dependents may receive financial compensation.

Filing for Workers Comp for a Car Accident

To claim workers comp for a car accident, you must notify your employer immediately of the accident and injury. Your employer will then guide you through the process of filing a claim with their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assist you in navigating the complexities of the claims process and maximizing your benefits.

How a Fort Myers Workers Comp Lawyer Can Help

In some cases, you may have the option to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in addition to your workers compensation claim. While workers compensation can provide crucial financial support after a work-related car accident, eligibility is not always straightforward.

Carefully evaluating the circumstances of your accident and the legal framework under Florida law is essential to securing the full range of benefits you deserve. Consulting with a knowledgeable Fort Myers workers compensation attorney at Work Injury Rights can empower you to navigate the system effectively and protect your rights.

Contact us at 954-324-COMP for a free consultation.