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Does Workers' Comp Cover Car Accidents During a Commute?


While workers’ compensation can cover injuries sustained in work-related car accidents, such incidents that occur during an employee’s commute don’t qualify. The key phrase here is “work-related,” which means something more specific than what it may appear to mean at a glance.

What Is a Work-Related Car Accident?

In California, a work-related car accident would occur if someone was involved in a collision while driving for a work-related reason. A commute doesn’t qualify as a work-related reason because traveling to and from a worksite is considered to be beyond the scope of an employee’s job. In other words, commuting isn’t part of an employee’s work duties, and an accident that occurs during a commute isn’t work-related.

That said, there are cases where an employee may be involved in a work-related car accident. The most obvious of these scenarios is if the employee drives as part of their normal course of employment. A courier is a good example of this because their job necessarily involves driving to make deliveries. If a courier is injured in a car accident while making a delivery or returning from one, the accident could be considered work-related.

Another example might include a regional manager who oversees multiple worksites. If this person is required to travel between worksites as part of their normal scope of employment, their car accident injuries could be eligible for workers’ compensation.

Do Independent Contractors Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?

No. Many driving-related jobs are conducted by independent contractors. The most obvious of these are those who drive for rideshare apps or food delivery apps. These workers aren’t officially employed by the entities providing them with work, which means that they aren’t considered employees and don’t qualify for workers’ compensation.

While this may be the case, drivers for these apps can hold responsible parties accountable in a personal injury lawsuit for damages incurred during a car accident. This includes at-fault drivers, or even the app companies themselves if their policies and practices put a driver in harm’s way.

When You Need Legal Help, We’re Here.

At Smolich & Smolich, we understand how difficult it can be to navigate the workers' compensation system after you’ve been injured in a work-related car accident. We have extensive experience fighting for your rights and helping you receive the benefits you deserve.

Our law firm provides representation and counsel that will help protect your interests throughout the entire process. We can assist you with the paperwork involved in filing a claim, as well as representing you throughout all proceedings. We also understand that each case is unique and requires an individualized approach. Our attorneys are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your rights or the process.

For more information about how we can help, contact us online and request a consultation.