Workers’ Comp Secrets: Are Car Accidents Covered in Georgia?

Are Car Accidents Covered by Workers’ Comp in Georgia?

Car accidents often occur during the workday as people travel to and from work and between job sites. But are car accidents covered?

The answer is complicated. 

workers' comp

According to the CDC, “Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States.” Moreover, the CDC claims “about three workers die from these crashes each day.” 

These statistics are alarming, but they don’t account for the number of men and women who are injured in car accidents and survive.

These injured workers will need to pay medical bills and deal with wrecked vehicles, all while missing out on work.

Traditionally, workers’ compensation in Georgia would provide benefits to help the injured employee cover medical bills and lost wages.

But it is significantly more complicated when the injury occurs as the result of a motor vehicle accident. 

Are car accidents covered in Georgia? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. 

Car Accidents Covered by Workers’ Comp in Georgia

The basic rule of thumb regarding workers’ compensation in Georgia and car accidents is that the accident must have occurred while the worker was on the clock.

For instance, if the worker is a delivery driver and gets into a car accident on their route, this falls under the umbrella of workers’ compensation.

For the accident to be deemed “work-related” and therefore covered by workers’ compensation, it must have taken place while working.

Examples include:

  • Making deliveries
  • Driving around work sites
  • Running work-related errands
  • Driving your employer or other employees as a work requirement
  • Work travel that your employer pays for

Car Accidents NOT Covered by Workers’ Comp in Georgia

The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Employee Handbook explains, “Injuries sustained while engaging in unassigned duties, during lunch and breaks, are not covered. In addition, injuries that occur during an employee’s normal commute to and from work are not covered.”

Again, the key to labeling a car accident “work-related” and receiving workers’ compensation is that it must have occurred while you were on the clock.

Any car accidents that happen while you are traveling to or from work are not considered work-related and are not covered in Georgia.

Similarly, if you are off the clock for a break or lunch, the car accident is not considered work-related, and it will not be covered by in Georgia. 

Defining a “Break”

This is where it gets a little tricky.

Many people work in environments where they are not technically “on or off the clock.” 

Technically, it is not considered a break unless your employer has completely released you from duty and you are allowed to use your free time however you want.

For instance, if you were grabbing lunch but still expected to work through lunch, it would not be deemed a true break. 

Or if you got into a car accident on the way from the office to a required lunch meeting, you could argue it was “work-related.”

For a car accident to be deemed work-related, it cannot occur during a scheduled break. 

Explaining “Ingress and Egress”

Workers’ compensation law in Georgia makes it clear that car accidents are not covered if they occur on the way to or from work.

However, if the car accident occurs on work property, then it is deemed work-related under the “ingress and egress” rule.

So, if you get in a car accident in the parking lot, you should be covered.

Georgia Is a No-Fault Liability State

Many people mistakenly believe that they will need to prove someone else was at fault in the accident to receive workers’ compensation.

This is false. You could have been at fault and still receive workers’ compensation (as long as it occurred while you were working).

This is because Georgia is a no-fault liability state.

According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, “Today, the workers’ compensation law provides for specific benefits to be paid to employees for injuries arising out of and in the course of employment, without regard to negligence or fault, and at the same time, provides the employer with limited liability.”

People tend to confuse workers’ compensation with personal injury law, which requires proving someone else is at fault.

People will often make a personal injury claim after a car accident against the driver at fault to receive money for their “pain and suffering.” 

Workers’ compensation does not provide for pain or suffering. It is not a lawsuit. It is a request for benefits. 

[Related Read: Can I Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits If I’m at Fault?]

Why You May Be Able to File Both a Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Claim

It is important to note that work-related car accidents are one of the few times when an injured employee can file a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim.

This is only possible in very specific situations.

For example, if the work injury was caused by another person or business not related to the employer (aka a third party) while you were working, it is possible to have two claims: a workers’ compensation claim against the employer and a personal injury claim against the third party who is at fault for the injury.

If you were injured in a car accident while driving for your job, you can file a claim because you were hurt while you were on the clock. In addition, you may make a personal injury claim against the third party who is at fault for the car accident. 

What Workers’ Comp Does Not Cover in Work-Related Car Accidents

Workers’ compensation insurance provides compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, and permanent disability for employees who have suffered a workplace injury. 

In addition to providing benefits to cover lost wages while an injured worker is out of work, Georgia workers’ compensation also covers all expenses related to care and treatment due to a work-related injury. 

This includes medical benefits such as:

  • Assistive devices (walkers or wheelchairs)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Mileage to and from doctors’ appointments
  • Meals and lodging for out-of-town medical appointments

Notice what is NOT covered? Your vehicle.

After a car accident, there are typically repairs, rental cars, or replacement vehicles. Who pays for these things? 

Not workers’ compensation.

When it comes to damages to your vehicle, you will either file a claim with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company.

This, along with pain and suffering, are why some people choose to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim

Let an Attorney Deal with the Insurance Company

Car accidents are difficult to deal with even without having to deal with workers’ compensation. 

You’re already having to battle about the worth of your vehicle and the cost of necessary repairs with car insurance companies.

Do you really want the headache of also dealing with workers’ compensation insurance? 

If you were injured in a work-related car accident, let an experienced attorney deal with workers’ compensation insurance instead. 

Workers’ compensation attorneys know the ins and outs of workers’ compensation in Georgia – specifically with work-related car accidents. 

They will fight to prove your accident was work-related and insist you receive the maximum benefits you deserve. 

If you’ve been injured on the job, contact us today for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.

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