January 22, 2021
Injured While Driving: Is it a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
by Jay W. Dixon, Esq., Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman
An injury sustained in a motor vehicle accident may lead to a viable Workers’ Compensation claim if it is determined that the accident occurred within the course and scope of and arising out of the injured individual’s employment.i
This is a fact-specific inquiry wherein all the circumstances surrounding the accident must be considered.ii
Some situations are clear cut. For instance, a delivery driver who sustains an injury in an accident while driving from one delivery address to another delivery address is clearly within the course and scope of their employment. Additionally, a police officer who sustains an injury in an accident while driving to a crime or accident scene that they have been dispatched to is within the course and scope of their employment. Other commonly encountered situations that will likely lead to compensable BWC claims include construction workers driving between job sites, salespeople driving to locations to make sales, and service and trades workers dispatched to locations to perform work tasks.
To the contrary, there are other common situations which will not lead to a viable BWC claim. In general, accidents that occur while commuting between one’s home and a fixed site of employment are not compensable claims.iii Further, accidents that occur while an employee is on a personal errand (for instance, traveling to a restaurant on a lunch break) are generally not held to have occurred within the course and scope of their employment.iv
Ohio has a “no fault” Workers’ Compensation system.v This means it does not matter whether the injured work or another individual is at fault for causing the accident. In both instances, a valid BWC claim may arise. If another individual is at fault there may be additional legal claims that arise in the form of a personal injury lawsuit.
If you are injured while driving in the course and scope of your employment you should seek medical care, report the injury to your employer and file a BWC claim. A BWC claim, if allowed, offers payment for your medical care as well as potential compensation for time off work, among other benefits.
i. Fisher v. Mayfield, 49 Ohio St.3d 275, 277-78 (1990).
iii. MTD Prods., Inc., v. Robatin, 61 Ohio St.3d 66, 68 (1991).
iv. See, e.g., Cline v. Yellow Transp., Inc., 2007-Ohio-6782, ¶ 22.
v. Ohio Revised Code 4123.01(C), Van Fossen v. Babcock & Wilcox Co., 36 Ohio St.3d 100, 110 (1988).