Traveling Employees Beware of Drowsy Driving
How many times do you travel on roads around where you live? Probably almost every day right? When you are out traveling, how often do you see trucks in all different sizes hauling goods and products, ranging from oil, gas, UPS, FedEx, Amazon, groceries, you name it! All of those drivers are working as drivers or drivers/deliverers. So, if they are driving to further the business of their Pennsylvania employers, and they are in an unfortunate accident, then they most likely should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
How do those accidents occur?
There are any number of ways accidents can occur. The week of November 5-11, 2017 is Drowsy Driving Prevention week across the nation. Certainly, drowsy driving is a cause, as the driver drifts off in their mind and body, then can drift off the road or into another vehicle, person, or object. Drunk or buzzed driving is certainly another cause; however, this would most likely not be accepted as an accepted work injury in Pennsylvania as this would be against the law. Other causes of accidents could be texting, eating, or just not paying attention to the road while driving. Weather or smoke from fires can also play a role, creating slick conditions and limit vision.
Work injuries can come in all forms from scratches and bruises to broken bones, head concussions, eye injuries torn muscles and tendons to even post-traumatic stress disorder. These injuries can either result in no missed time from work to many months out of work and treating for the injury(ies). Certainly, every case is different and should be handled on a case by case basis.
What happens if you or a loved one is simply traveling to and from work in Pennsylvania, is that covered by PA workers’ compensation? Typically, traveling back and forth from work in PA is not considered to be within the course of employment, however, there are some exceptions. These exceptions are as follows: The contract between the employer and employee specifically included transportation to and from work; the injured worker had no fixed place of work; the injured worker was on some special assignment for his or her employer; or some special circumstance where the injured worker was actually furthering the business of the employer. Again, these cases are fact specific and whether they are indeed covered as an accepted injury depends on the circumstances, the involved employer and workers’ compensation carrier, and eventually the Workers’ Compensation Judge, if left to go to a Decision in Court.
Did you know that in Pennsylvania, there are special rules that apply to drivers and passengers of van pools? Click to read the complete Legislation, please click the link below.
Essentially, the Ride Sharing Act, and not the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, comes into play when the employees are mere passengers hurt while in the van pool on their way to work; their employer has no ownership, lease, or contract for the van involved; and the employer simply provides information about the van pooling. Because the PA Workers’ Compensation Act is not involved, the injured workers can file a direct tort action, and not be limited to only workers’ compensation as their remedy.
For answers to your traveling questions, feel free to contact Robinson Law LLC for an initial free consultation.