Both commercial auto insurance policies and workers compensation offers some form of medical payments in case of injury. Commercial auto insurance covers drivers and their passengers in case of an accident, no matter who is at fault, while workers compensation insurance covers almost any employee injury that occurs in the course of their workday.
So what happens if you are in a car accident while on the job? Which insurance pays for what?
In short, it depends on your location, the insurance policies and the situation. Insurers will often work together to figure out who will pay what in the course of an accident where both could cover expenses. The insurer who provides workers compensation will communicate with the insurer who provides commercial auto insurance. If your employer carries each coverage with the same insurer, their insurance agent can help direct you as to where to file a claim.
Car Accidents Without Commercial Auto Insurance
Say you are using a personal vehicle to drive from one job location to another. While they are traveling, another car runs a red light and hits them. In this case, workers compensation insurance should provide coverage for any related medical bills you and your passengers may face.
If you have personal auto insurance but are in an accident while working, your auto insurance provider will generally work with the workers compensation provider to decide who will provide compensation.
What if an Employee Causes an Accident?
Circumstances are a little different if you cause a car accident. Workers compensation does not generally cover liability or intentional damage. If you accidentally cause a car accident while driving for work, your employer’s commercial auto insurance should cover the injuries and damages you cause. Be sure to speak with your insurer and confirm that you and the vehicle you are driving (either personal or commercial) are covered under commercial auto insurance.
The same applies if you are using a personal vehicle and personal auto insurance. This insurance should handle the liability issues faced by the car accident.
It is critical to notify your employer immediately after an accident and after necessary medical attention is received. You should then speak with the correct insurance representative to discuss filing a claim.
Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover Wage Replacement?
Medical coverage under commercial auto insurance falls into two categories depending on your state: medical payments coverage or personal injury protection (PIP). Both of these coverage serve essentially the same function to cover medical bills a driver and their passengers may face after an accident regardless of fault. There is a minute difference, however, in that PIP offers additional coverage to extend to wage replacement.
Most states like Illinois have medical payments coverage that does not cover wage replacement.
If you are involved in a car accident during work that prevents you from returning to work or limits your work capabilities, you should file a claim with your employer’s workers compensation policy in order to receive disability and/or wage replacement benefits.
Does a Commercial Auto Accident Affect My Personal Auto Insurance?
Sadly, an accident that occurs at work will carry over into your personal insurance even if you aren’t operating a personal vehicle. For example, say you are involved in an accident while driving your business’ van to a contracting site. Even though you were in your work’s vehicle, the accident does not follow only the vehicle but your driving record. This means that your driving record will change as a result of the accident and can influence how much you pay for auto insurance.
In general, you could see around a 30% rise in your auto insurance rates after a single at fault accident which, depending on where you live, could last on your record between three to five years. While the accident is on your record, your car insurance premiums will continue to be influenced. You may see no change for an accident that was not your fault, however.
Can You Receive Workers Compensation and Commercial Auto Insurance Medical Payments?
In most cases, one policy will take over all of the expenses and the other will only step in if the limit of the previous policy reaches its limits. It also depends on the circumstances of the accident as discussed above, such as when and where the accident occurs.
Speak with your employer and t heir insurer to discuss your options after an accident to ensure you receive compensation as needed.