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Is workers’ compensation available for car accident victims?

| Feb 16, 2021 | Blog |

Not everyone works in an office setting. Many professionals find themselves behind the wheel for all or part of the day. Whether performing deliveries or traveling to meet with a client, any Alaska resident taking to the roads runs the risk of becoming involved in an accident. Can employees file for workers’ compensation in such situations?

Workers compensation, insurance and auto accidents

Determining the type of insurance that applies if someone is injured while driving depends on the particulars. A truck driver who works as an employee for a trucking company might file a claim after an accident. The same could be the case with other professions if the employee takes to the wheel while on the job. For example, a public relations professional traveling to a presentation could end up in a crash. In either of these scenarios, a workers’ compensation claim may follow.

Alaska has a no-fault workers’ compensation system. The driver might even be at-fault in the accident and still pursue workers’ compensation benefits.

On the other hand, someone who suffers an injury off the job could not file for workers’ compensation. Getting into a car accident while driving home after work would not be likely to receive a workers’ compensation claim approval. However, if the driver suffered harm from another driver’s negligence, they could file a liability claim.

Filing for both workers’ compensation and a personal injury suit

When an employee files for workers’ compensation, suing an employer for personal injuries is usually not possible. Certain exceptions may apply, such as an employer taking deliberate actions to hurt someone. Exceptions are few, though.

Filing a lawsuit against a third-party might not be subject to this restriction. A delivery driver hit due to another driver’s negligence may file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the negligent party. The workers’ comp claim might go forward separate from any claims against that entity. The third party could be another driver, a service center, the vehicle’s manufacturer, the local municipality or another.

Drivers may have options for a workers’ compensation claim after a car accident. It would probably be wise to discuss the validity of such a claim with an attorney.