Who pays what following a work-related car accident?

Whether you realize it or not, you drive for your work. You may not count yourself among the over 1.7 million commercial truck drivers or 654,300 bus drivers that the Bureau of Labor Statistics currently lists as employed in these industries, yet everyone has at least one instance where they sat behind the wheel of a car in work-related capacity.

This may then prompt the question of who is responsible should you get in an accident while driving for work. You may not realize the need to know this information the moment an accident occurs, but you will when the person inspecting the damages to your car or checking you in at the hospital asks you if the accident is work-related.

The first point to understand is that you may have no choice in the matter of deciding whether or not to seek workers compensation benefits following a work-related car accident. Oftentimes, your auto insurance company will refuse to extend coverage to you until you first submit a workers compensation claim. This could end up being to your advantage, however. While you may end up being underinsured with your auto insurance policy, and thus left without adequate coverage, workers compensation benefits will typically pay out regardless of whether or not you were at fault in the accident. All you need is to prove that you were on the job when the accident occurred.

So why worry about filing a claim with your auto insurance company? The answer is because workers compensation benefits only cover your medical bills and any wages lost from having to miss work. Vehicle damage, property damage, and the expenses of dealing with any added emotional distress you feel should all be submitted under an auto insurance claim.   

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