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Does Workers' Comp Count in the Parking Lot?

During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, more and more shoppers aren’t actually going inside stores to shop. Instead, online shopping with curbside and parking lot pickup options have become the new norm. You can get a week’s worth of groceries, for example, without ever stepping out of your car thanks to the hard work of the store’s employees.

But as more employees are finding themselves spending more time in busy parking lots, the risk of a pedestrian accident between an employee and a negligent driver is also going up. If a worker is hurt while loading products into a shopper’s car, are they still covered by workers’ compensation? Thankfully, yes, workers’ comp still applies while a worker is in the parking lot of their place of employment as long as they were there for a work-related reason, i.e., putting products in a customer’s car.

Workers’ Comp is Based on What You’re Doing, Not Where You Are

Why do workers’ compensation benefits still apply if a worker is hurt in the parking lot? Doesn’t it only apply to accidents in the workplace? Not necessarily. This is actually a fairly common misconception about workers’ comp.

Benefits can be made available to an injured worker if they are hurt while performing a job-related duty or task. The location of the activity in question is secondary and often not factored into a workers’ compensation claim at all. This wrinkle in workers’ comp law is necessary to provide coverage to workers who spend the majority of their workday outside of any office or a brick-and-mortar location, like a food courier who drives orders to customers for many hours a day.

Suing the Driver for a Parking Lot Workplace Accident

Workers’ compensation benefits are helpful, but they can only do so much. In many cases, injured workers only get coverage for necessary medical treatments. Only those who are temporarily disabled or unable to work will get wage replacement benefits, which are set at about two-thirds of their average weekly wages.

After a worker is hit by a negligent driver in the parking lot, though, the worker might have an opportunity to get more financial compensation than what workers’ comp will provide alone. Assuming that the driver is a third party, the injured employee can likely file a personal injury claim against them for additional damages not provided through workers’ comp. For example, they could sue for medical treatments that are elective instead of necessary, the unpaid one-third of their wages not given by workers’ comp, and noneconomic damage like pain and suffering.

We Support Every Worker in Chicago

Were you hit by a car while loading products into a customer’s vehicle? If you work in Chicago, Leonard Law Group wants to hear from you. Our workers’ compensation lawyers are also experienced personal injury attorneys, so we are confident that we can find a way to pursue the maximum amount of damages for you, possibly through a workers’ comp and personal injury claim. Let’s discuss the details today. Please contact our firm now.

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