Types of Jobs that Require Employees to Drive
Many different types of jobs require workers to drive as a part of their work duties. Some common types of jobs that require employees to drive include the following:
- Home health aides
- Delivery drivers
- Cargo van drivers
- Bus drivers
- Truck drivers
- Hotel and airport shuttle drivers
In addition to jobs that require professional driving, some employers ask their workers to use their vehicles to drive to complete errands on an occasional basis. Even if you were injured in an accident in your own car, you may still be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits from your employer’s insurance carrier if the accident happened during the course and scope of your employment.
Did Your Crash Occur During the Course and Scope of Your Employment?
If your car accident occurred while you were working within the scope and course of your employment, you are entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. Workers’ compensation is designed to provide benefits to workers who are injured while they are working through a no-fault system. In most cases, however, you are not allowed to recover benefits if your accident happened during your commute to work or your drive home after your shift. This is called the coming and going rule. Time spent commuting is generally not considered to be within the scope and course of your employment. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
In Hinojosa v. Workmen’s Comp Appeals Bd., 8 Cal.3d 150 (1972), the California Supreme Court defined the required vehicle exception. Under this rule, if a worker is required to supply his or her own vehicle for work purposes, the employer must provide workers’ compensation benefits for accidents that happen during the worker’s commute. Another exception that has been recognized in California is the personal comfort exception as delineated in Bloxham v. Lithia Ford. In that case, the court found that a worker who was on a break and who was injured when he stopped for coffee and cigarettes at a convenience store was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This was because it was common practice for the employees to stop at the store on their breaks and to bring back treats for others, making it a convenience for the employer.
Finally, in some cases, you may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured in an accident while commuting to and from work in a company car. This is not an absolute exception, however. Instead, whether or not you will be entitled to benefits will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case.
Was Your Car Wreck Caused by a Non-Employee Third Party?
If your accident was caused by another party who was not an employee of your company, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against him or her. This type of personal injury claim may be filed in addition to your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. If the negligent driver was employed by a different company and was driving within the course and scope of his or her own job, you may be able to file a lawsuit that names both the at-fault driver and his or her employer as defendants to your lawsuit. In some cases, the registered owner of a vehicle that was being driven by someone else may also be liable. If the registered owner negligently entrusted the vehicle to a driver who the owner knew or had reason to know was a bad driver, the registered owner may be vicariously liable.
Contact an experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyer in Los Angeles
If you are seriously injured in an accident while you are working, it is important for you to talk to a Los Angeles attorney who is experienced in both workers’ compensation and personal injury law. By filing both a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and a personal injury case against the negligent third party who caused your accident, you may be likelier to recover compensation in a fair amount. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment so that we can discuss your case.