Workers’ Comp for Employees Who Drive
Under the statute in Georgia, as in most states, you only need to show the following to secure workers’ compensation after a car accident:
- You were injured in the motor vehicle accident.
- You were “on the job” and acting within the scope of your employment.
When an employee is driving a company truck, car, or other motorized vehicle, they are often acting within the scope of their employment. Typical reasons for driving on the job include:
- Making a delivery
- Running a work-related errand
- Driving another employee for work-related purposes
- Traveling to trainings or other required, work-related events
- Providing transportation for customers, such as city bus drivers
- Driving to off-site jobs
- Using the company vehicle while pursuing other job duties
For example, if you are paid to drive a delivery truck to get items to customers, and are in an accident while doing so, workers’ compensation is probably going to cover your medical bills and lost income, whether you were at fault for the accident or not.
Respondeat Superior: If the Employee Is at Fault in a Car Accident
The relationship between employers and employees who drive company vehicles and/or as part of their job falls under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior.
Respondeat superior dictates that employers are legally responsible for the actions of their employees while those employees are “acting within the scope of their employment.” This includes paying for injuries and property damage caused by an employee driving a company vehicle for work-related reasons.
Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault policy, it doesn’t matter if the employee caused the accident or not — the employer is responsible for injuries sustained by anyone hurt by the employee’s actions (including the employee themselves).
Workers’ compensation will pay for the employee’s damages, while the employer’s liability insurance will usually take care of the costs of drivers of other vehicles, non-employee passengers, bystanders, and anyone else hurt in the incident.
When an accident occurs on an employees’ own time, including travel to and from work or during a lunch break, is not usually considered work-related.
An employee who causes and/or is injured in a car accident may lose their right to any compensation or protections if they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or involved in criminal activity, at the time of the crash.
Can Uber and Lyft Drivers Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Companies like Uber and Lyft pay drivers to provide transportation services, but on their own schedules and with the ability to pick and choose passengers through the app.
People who drive for companies like Uber and Lyft are considered independent contractors, rather than employees. This means the companies don’t have to provide workers’ compensation to injured workers when a car accident happens.
However, in 2018, Uber began offering drivers an insurance program that functions a bit like workers’ compensation. If drivers are in an accident while logged into the app, they can receive coverage for medical expenses and lost income.
A workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help rideshare contractors get financial help after a car accident on the job.
RELATED: Frequently Asked Workers’ Compensation Questions