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Does workers' comp cover auto accidents?

Car accidents are one of the most common reasons for serious injuries for people in Missouri. In 2015, over 4,500 residents sustained injuries in car accidents across the state. Of those serious injuries, 172 occurred in St. Louis.

A fair number of people end up in accidents while on the job. Many people need to drive while on the clock, and this can lead to certain misunderstandings about what workers' comp can actually cover. There are instances where a person injured can file for workers' comp, but the accident needs to meet certain criteria.

What was the employee doing?

You generally cannot file a workers' comp claim if you were driving to or from work. You typically are not officially on the clock yet, so workers' comp will usually not cover these instances.

However, you often can file for workers' comp if you performed a work-related task in relation to driving. For example, if your job requires you to make deliveries, then workers' comp would typically cover injuries you sustain while delivering something. You can also typically file for other work-related errands or if your travel to another city is a compensated expense.

However, workers' comp may not cover the injuries if the employee was on duty but performed a personal errand while on the road. For example, after making a delivery, an employee may want to swing by the bank to grab cash. Since this is a personal errand not affiliated with work, the employee may not be able to recover damages through workers' comp if an accident occurs.

What if the employee is at fault for the accident?

In most auto accident cases, insurance companies need to determine who is at fault when an accident occurs between two vehicles. However, figuring out who is at fault is typically not necessary for a workers' comp claim, as the workers' comp system is generally no-fault. One exception to this rule is if the employee caused the accident while being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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