Does workers’ compensation insurance cover injuries from car accidents?

Generally, motor vehicle accidents that occur when employees are traveling to and from the workplace are not covered by workers' compensation, but there are two exceptions:

  • If employees are required to bring their cars to the office for use during the workday, then travel to and from the office and business travel during the day are generally covered by workers' compensation.
  • If you regularly provide transportation to and from the workplace in company-operated vehicles — like buses, trucks or vanpools — injuries to employee passengers would be covered by workers' compensation.

Even if you're unsure whether an automobile accident is covered by workers' compensation, it's best to report it to your workers' comp insurer.

If an employee is injured in a car accident, who pays medical bills? The auto insurance company or workers' comp carrier?

If an employee is injured in a work-related car accident, workers’ compensation is the primary source of insurance for medical and wage-loss benefits. This is why it’s important to report it to your workers’ compensation insurer right away if you have an employee who was injured in a work-related car accident.

What should employees do if they get into a car accident while driving for work?

If you have employees who drive for work, ask them to do the following if they are involved in an accident:

1. Call for help.

Of course, call an ambulance immediately if anyone is injured. Even if there aren't injuries, it's best to call local law enforcement to the scene to file a police report and issue any citations. If this isn't possible, make a legal accident report with the police department as soon as possible.

2. Obtain key information.

Find out:

  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses and everyone in each vehicle
  • License numbers and state registrations of all vehicles involved
  • Insurance information from the other driver

3. Report it to you (their employer).

Immediately report the accident to the person in the organization who handles workers' compensation claims.

What if the employee wasn't at fault?

If the other driver was primarily at fault, it's usually possible to recover workers' compensation benefits paid from the negligent driver's personal auto insurance carrier.

In many cases SFM can recover 100 percent of the workers' compensation benefits paid, but there are often situations that restrict us to recover only a portion of our total paid. The reasons for this include:

  • Some states have statutes that allow the employee’s personal injury attorney to take the first third of the settlement.
  • The other driver might not be 100 percent at fault, meaning the employee bears some responsibility.
  • Not all workers’ compensation benefits are recognized by auto insurers. For example, payments for rehabilitation services are often questioned by liability carriers because this is not a standard benefit paid under a liability claim in many states.  
  • The driver's auto insurance policy limits might be less than the amount of incurred workers' compensation benefits.

Make sure employees who drive for work know what to do if they’re involved in an accident

Hopefully you and your employees won’t ever have to worry about dealing with a car accident, but it's always best to be prepared.

Making sure your employees know what to do in the event of a collision can save you, and your employees, major hassles down the road.

This is not intended to serve as legal advice for individual fact-specific legal cases or as a legal basis for your employment practices.

One Comment

  • What if I’m driving my personal vehicle to therapy for Workmen’s Compensation, during work hours, and somebody hits my car? Or damage is covered by Workmen’s comp?

  • That’s a good question. Any damage to the vehicle would not be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. If there was a personal injury resulting from the accident, it is possible that medical treatment and wage loss related to the injury could be covered under the existing workers’ compensation claim. We’d recommend talking with your workers’ compensation claims adjuster for further information.

  • I was involved in a car accident while driving to work no one was hurt, Can my company make me pay for the insurance increase, they are sitting me until they figure out the insurance. I’m in a plumbers union. I was driving a truck my company supplies all it’s employee’s. Thank you

  • I received a third party settlement and my attorney claims that worker’s comp has hired an outside company who has a “lien” on my money in the amount of $44,000 to cover the amount paid out thus far for medical bills and weekly lost wages paid to me. Claims to need to hold such in his escrow account until he negotiates with that company. Needless to say, i did not sign any release and left his office. Is this something that worker’s comp is allowed to do by law in GA? Keep in mind that my lawsuit against them has not been settled. How can they recover anything else if this is true as I still in line for another surgery and there would be np other way to recoup money paid out for such?

  • Unfortunately, we can’t provide any information on this. We’d recommend you discuss this further with your attorney.

  • If in a accident and worker’s compensation will cover medical bills, after they pay do I keep the insurance check from my car insurance since I have full coverage and they will pay medical bills too?

  • If Workers Comp pays all my medical bills from an auto accident, am I still entitled to those amounts when negotiating settlement from my own personal uninsured motorist policy?

  • I work for the USPS as a rural mail carrier while delivering mail my car was damaged by a spot on the route that was washed out undermined. My vehicle is totaled. Is Workmen Comp. responsible for damage to vehicle?

  • Regarding the questions about medical bills, what you are able to recover under your personal car insurance depends on your policy language. Most likely the policy has language speaking to whether there was another payer on your claim. We highly recommend that you speak to your auto insurance agent or carrier and let them know about the involvement of workers’ compensation. Failure to do so could subject you to civil liability.

  • Regarding the question about vehicle damage, workers’ compensation benefits do not cover property damage to vehicles.

Related posts

Woman focusing on road while driving
Cartoon man driving a sports car and holding a cell phone with a "no" sign over it
Hands on a steering wheel in winter

Topics