12 Nov Are Auto Accidents Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Arizona?
Auto accidents are common in Arizona. And, unfortunately, they often result in both minor and severe injuries to those involved. But are these types of accidents covered by worker’s compensation in Arizona? The answer depends on whether or not the injury or injuries suffered in the accident were work-related.
When is an injury work-related?
Arizona requires that an injury suffered in an auto accident be work-related in order for it to be covered by workers’ compensation. Generally speaking, although there are some exceptions if an employee is injured at his or her place of work, then he or she will be covered by workers’ compensation. However, when an employee is injured in an auto accident, things can get a bit trickier. As noted above, an individual who is injured must be engaged in a work-related activity while in the vehicle, and this may or may not involve work performed at the worksite itself. Driving can be work-related when:
- An employee drives for a living (ex. trucking)
- An employee transfers another employee somewhere for work-related purposes
- An employee travels for work and has no permanent office
- An employee is paid by his or her boss for travel time to or from home
- An employee runs an errand for his or her boss
- An employee makes deliveries
What about commuting to or from work?
Generally speaking, an employee may not collect workers’ compensation benefits for injuries suffered in an accident that occurred during his or her commute to or from work. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if an employee on the way to work stops to pick up work supplies and is then involved in an auto accident, he or she may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Are independent contractors covered?
Independent contractors are often reluctant to pursue workers’ compensation claims suffered in work-related auto accidents due to the fact that they aren’t employees. However, while independent contractors aren’t typically covered by workers’ compensation, it isn’t uncommon for employers to falsely categorize employees as independent contractors. Therefore, it’s important for all workers, independent contractors included, to seek legal guidance following an auto accident—even if they believe that it may not be work-related. As noted above, there are a number of gray areas in this area of the law, so it’s always best to consult with an experienced Arizona workers’ compensation attorney before giving up on a possible claim.
Arizona Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Workplace injuries can be devastating, both physically and financially. Therefore, if you or a loved one have been injured in a work-related auto accident, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced Arizona workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible, as you may be entitled to compensation. Even if you believe you are an independent contractor or don’t think that your injury was work-related, you should, at a minimum, obtain a legal opinion before deciding whether to pursue a claim. For a free consultation, please contact Arizona Injury Law Group, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, at 602-346-9009.