Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards/Workmans Comp, RIFR and EMR

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Question
QUESTION: I was working for a company located in Iowa but the job was in Illinois which we were staying there for the week. The working hours were 7am to 5pm. At 9pm on the third night there I was involved in a car accident in a company vehicle. I was not at fault, the other driver ran a red light. The accident caused damage to my neck and I missed about three weeks of work. The other parties insurance company has admitted fault and has agreed to pay for everything. Will and how would this affect the company's, the one I work for, RIFI and should this be a workmans comp claim? If so how would it affect the company's EMR?

ANSWER: Brian great question!  I hope you get well soon!  Well the question has to be asked, were you working at 9 p.m. or headed to dinner?  If you were working, coming or going to work in a company vehicle would make a difference for recordable accident or not.  Likewise, if you were working at 9 PM then it would be a workers compensation claim and it would be recordable incident.  However, if you weren't working and going to dinner, this would not likely be a workers compensation claim.  Your company's workers compensation carrier would likely make a decision as to whether it was work related or not, based on what I stated previously.  As far as the EMR, the Experience Modification Rate would be dependent on all of the above.  I personally, would file a workers compensation claim, and have the insurance carrier accept or deny the claim.  If they accept the claim, then it would go against the EMR.  However, since a third party is responsible for your injury, you could sue their insurance carrier for lost wages, medical and pain and suffering.  In some states, any money recovered from a third party lawsuit could reimburse the workers compensation carrier for medical and indemnity incurred as a result of the accident.  I wish there was a simple answer, but accidents like the one you outline get into the gray area of both workers compensation, employer liability and auto insurance.  The outcome is dependent on the laws and how they apply to your case.  Plain and simple, you may want to have a free consultation with a workers compensation attorney regarding the compensability of your case.  I am not a lawyer, so I cannot advise you of your rights.  The other parts of the question is dependent on the outcome.  I hope this makes sense and has answered your questions.  If you have further questions or need any additional information, do not hesitate to contact me.  Thanks

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Actually I was heading back to the hotel from dinner. The company I work for has picked it up on workmans comp but I know that are EMR is fairly high and was hoping it wouldn't affect it because of a third party at fault. The company I work for said it was workmans comp because I was across state lines. So what you are saying is it shouldn't have been WC, although my company is covering me on it anyway, and it does count against the EMR. Correct? Does it also affect the company's RIFR? Thanks for all of your help and knowledge Robert!

Answer
Brian, sorry for the delay in answering your follow-up question!   I'm not saying that it shouldn't be workers comp., What I'm saying is that it is in a gray area of compensability.  Since it was accepted as workers comp. it would affect the workers comp. EMR.   Even though it was accepted as workers compensation, does not  automatically make it a recordable case, and I would say that the accident would not necessarily be recordable because it happened when you were driving to or from dinner.  I hope this clears things up for you.  If you have further questions or need any additional information, do not hesitate to contact me.  Thanks

Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards

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Robert Tipton, CSP

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding OSHA general industry and construction compliance, industrial hygiene, workers compensation, general safety issues, Lockout/Tag-out, Power Press safety, Laser Safety, Ergonomics and Fire safety.

Experience

I have worked over 5 years in the insurance industry conducting loss prevention services, worked two years as an OSHA Safety Compliance Officer, over 15 years in manufacturing as a safety professional.

Organizations
American Society of Safety Professionals ASSE

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science degree in Safety Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania Certified Safety Professional, CSP by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals for over ten years.

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