Can I claim workers' compensation if injured in a car accident at work or on my way to or from work?
Yes you can. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, whether it is a car, motorcycle or truck accident, if it occurred in the course of your work, or on your way to or from your workplace, then you have a right to claim workers' compensation in relation to your accident injuries. Even if you are injured in a car accident during a work break, as long as you were not subjecting yourself to an "abnormal risk" at the time of the accident occurring, you can claim workers' compensation. An example of an "abnormal risk" would be where a worker decides to go drag racing with a co-worker in the vacant lot next to his workplace during his lunch break.
Where a worker suffers injury in a traffic accident on the way to or from the workplace, these workers' compensation claims are commonly referred to as "journey claims". There are some circumstances where the workers' compensation insurer can reject a claim for compensation in relation to injuries sustained in a journey claim. This is where there has been a substantial deviation or delay in the journey to or from the workplace. For example, on her way home from work, Mary deviates from her course home to pick up some groceries at the supermarket. After leaving the supermarket, she is involved in a car accident on her way home. The workers' compensation insurer is likely to reject Mary's claim for workers' compensation because of Mary's deviation to go shopping on her way home from the workplace. The workers' compensation insurer, which is usually WorkCover Queensland, will look at when and where the accident occurred when the application for workers' compensation is made to assess whether there has been sufficient enough of a delay or deviation to reject the claim under the Workers' Compensation & Rehabilitation Act 2003.
Having a workers' compensation claim can be very helpful after a car accident. This is because it allows you to have any time off work you need for your accident injuries in order to recover properly before returning to work. In most circumstances, 85% of your lost wages will be paid to you by the workers' compensation insurer. You will also be entitled to funding of medical and rehabilitation treatment you need for your accident injuries. The workers' compensation insurer will meet this funding until such time as your injuries are deemed stable and stationary by your treating doctors. Once this occurs, then your workers' comp claim will cease. Also, you do not have to be concerned that your employer will be significantly impacted by your workers' compensation claim as, if the accident was not your fault, the compulsory third party insurer of the at-fault vehicle will be required to reimburse the workers' compensation insurer for your workers' compensation claim.
Lodging a motor accident claim with the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer
However, when you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, and the accident is not your fault, then once we lodge a motor accident claim on your behalf with the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer of the at-fault-vehicle, the CTP insurer will obligated under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 to fund any medical or rehabilitation treatment your doctors say you need for your accident injuries. This obligation on the CTP insurer continues until your motor accident claim ends, that is, when you are paid out lump sum compensation by way of damages for your accident injuries. If the motor vehicle accident was your fault, then unfortunately you cannot make a motor accident claim for damages, but you may be able to claim a lump sum statutory payment of compensation from the workers' compensation insurer at the end of your workers' compensation claim, if you are assessed by medical specialists as suffering a degree of permanent impairment due to your accident injuries.
So if the injuries caused by the car accident have resulted in you suffering a percentage loss of bodily function, then you will be entitled to receive some statutory lump sum compensation from the workers' compensation insurer. It is important to keep in mind when you are involved in an accident, even though you may think the accident was in some way your fault, it does not necessarily mean that you do not have a claim for compensation or damages. In some motor vehicle accidents associated with work, the employer can be responsible for the accident occurring. An example of this is providing the worker with a vehicle that was not properly serviced and maintained and this contributed to the cause of the accident. Another example may be where the employer required the worker to work extensive hours without proper rest breaks, resulting in the worker suffering fatigue and suffering an accident on his way home from work.
Sometimes, people think that they don't have a motor accident claim because they may have played some part in the accident occurring - but this does not mean you cannot claim for the contribution of the other driver or at-fault party to the accident occurring. For instance, you are turning from the highway into a street and a vehicle coming through the intersection collides with your vehicle causing you serious injuries. The other vehicle may have had right of way, BUT, in the circumstances of your case, the other driver should have clearly seen you turning well prior to the collision and could have avoided i, if they had been paying proper attention. In such a case, you may have a car accident claim against the other driver.
This is why it is so very important that you contact us at The Personal Injury Lawyers if you are involved in an accident to find out if you have a right to pursue injury compensation or damages. You may very well have an entitlement to significant damages and you are completely unaware of it. It is also very important that you speak to us before accepting any statutory lump sum offer of compensation from the workers' compensation insurer as, in doing so, you could possibly lose a right to claim significant damages for your accident injuries. Time limits apply to bringing workers' compensation and motor vehicle accident claims, so it is important that you contact us as soon as possible after an accident to ensure that your claim is properly identified, pursued and protected.
You may also be interested in the following articles and cases on this subject:
- See the case of QComp and John Kennelly v Qantas Airways (C/2012/16) and our article on this case at the following link: Car accident injury on the way to or from work.
- See the case of Brew v Workcover Queensland, where Mr Brew was injured on the way home from work in a car accident after falling asleep at the wheel of his car. Mr Brew had been working excessive overtime and not being provided with sufficient work breaks by his employer, and the court held that the employer had therefore contributed to the car accident occurring.
- See the case of Purt v Workcover Queensland, where Mr Purt was injured when the work vehicle he was driving hit a rock concealed in long grass and rolled over whilst travelling in a remote area. The Court held the employer had contributed to the accident because a four wheel drive vehicle should have been provided to the worker given the type of terrain he had to travel over in the course of his work.
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If you have been injured as a result of any vehicle such as car, bike or boat accident, or whilst at work, on holiday, or in many other situations you believe was caused by someone else's wrongful act or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Even if you think your actions may have contributed to your injury, you may still have a claim well-worth pursuing. Chat, call, email, or let us assess your claim, just press the button below. There is no cost, and no obligation.