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Are Car Accidents Covered by NJ Workers Compensation?

Many people get behind the wheel as a function of their job. Delivery drivers, transit drivers, outside sales representatives, and thousands of others are on the road every single day.

Driving is dangerous, and car accidents are indeed the source of many workplace accidents. In New Jersey, you are eligible to make a workers’ compensation claim on injuries sustained from any work-related car accident.

Note that commuting doesn’t count, thanks to the New Jersey “going and coming” rule. In order for your car accident to apply, you must either be engaged in direct work duties, driving an employer-authorized vehicle, or driving because you’re on a work trip. 

You may still be eligible for workers’ compensation if you are injured while leaving or traveling to a routine work or meal break. 

Employers Still Contest Driver Cases 

Employers will look for any reason to claim that your car accident wasn’t work-related, so they shouldn’t have to compensate you for it. 

For example, in the 2008 case Scott v. Foodarama Supermarkets, the Court of Appeals against a worker who was traveling home from work and involved in an accident. Scott was a salaried employee required to travel to all 24 supermarkets located in central New Jersey and was routinely reimbursed for gas, tolls, and out-of-pocket expenses. He also received a $200-a-month stipend for wear and tear on his car. 

Scott asserted he was technically working from the moment he left his house to the moment he got home. The appellate court ruled that the “travel time” exception provided workers’ compensation coverage to employees who are paid for travel time to and from distant work sites, even though they may not be performing employer-related duties directly.

The court ruled that travel between stores would have been covered because he was eligible to count that time towards his minimum 48-hour work week and that travel 

time to and from the first and last sites of the day was not eligible. 

Employers may even try to claim they’re not responsible even if you were engaged in work duties at the time of your accident. For example, the trucking industry is notorious for working truckers 60 to 80 hours a week and then claiming the trucker was an “independent contractor” all along. 

To refute those claims, a good attorney will have to help you show the courts that the employer passes a three-prong test showing that you were, in fact, acting as their employee and not as an independent entity. 

You Can Claim Benefits Even If You Were at Fault 

Fault won’t be an issue for a workers’ compensation case, though it could impact any third-party claim you want to make. 

Workers’ compensation will also be able to recover a portion of your personal injury award, if you receive one, to reimburse them for your medical expenses and lost wages. Fortunately, workers’ compensation insurance companies may only recover 33% of their costs in this fashion.

You could lose benefits if you were driving under the influence. Many employers mandate drug testing after an accident. If the test is positive and they are able to prove the drugs were a direct cause of the accident, they may be able to deny your claim.

Get Help Today 

Car accident workers’ compensation cases may be more complex than other cases, and you’ll typically need help from a workers’ compensation lawyer to navigate the claim.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and are struggling to claim workers’ compensation, contact Talone Law today. We are experts in New Jersey Workers’ Compensation and can help.

See also:

Do You Receive Pain and Suffering Damages in a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Claim?

How Alcohol or Drugs Impact Your New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Claim

What is the Going and Coming Rule in NJ Workers’ Compensation Law?

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The Law Office Of Albert J. Talone
The Law Office Of Albert J. Talone is committed to providing for those with Workers Compensation cases throughout New Jersey.
302 N Washington Ave #101
Moorestown
New Jersey
08057
United States

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