What happens when, for example, a worker falls from a crane, is injured on the job in a compensable accident, but has transportation issues? Does the workers compensation insurance company have to provide transportation?

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According to Herndon and Loudoun County Worker’s Compensation lawyer Doug Landau, the insurance company may be required to provide transportation. This is true when the doctors who are treating the injured worker indicate that she is not able to drive at all. Lawyer Landau has had cases where the insurance company paid for: cab fare, Uber, and even a limo service to transport the injured worker to and from doctor appointments, physical therapy and diagnostic testing such as MRI, CT scan and x-rays.
 
Unless an injured worker’s authorized treating doctor puts in writing that they are unable to drive, the worker’s compensation insurance company and the employer may not have to provide transportation assistance. This is true, even if the worker normally uses some sort of motorized vehicle in their job!

However, where an injured worker has been released by their doctor to light duty or part-time work, the pre-injury employer may offer them employment within their work restrictions. If, two weeks after this light duty job offer was accepted and undertaken, the injured worker’s car blows up and they have no transportation to and from work, and they can’t afford to fix it, the bottom line is, tough luck. Suggestions would include Uber, getting a lift with a coworker or asking a friend or relative for a ride. The fear is that the worker, released to light duty, will be terminated for absenteeism, which would be “for cause.” Termination for cause may end Virginia Workers Compensation benefits, and could be lethal to the claim.

 
Where the injured worker can in fact drive, the employer will not likely be required to pay for a cab, Lyft, or other transportation. On the other hand, lawyer Landau points out that he has gotten insurance companies to pay for disabled workers cars to be retrofitted. In other words, where a client has a severe leg injury, and can no longer drive their stick shift vehicle, there may be the opportunity to get the vehicle retrofitted for one-legged driving. Likewise, retrofitting a vehicle for hand operation, or other reasonable accommodations (i.e., tinting for light sensitivity), for an injured employee may be possible.
In cases where the treating doctors have written that the disabled worker is unable to drive because of their injuries, then the workers comp insurance, or the employer or administrator, they have to provide transportation, including taxi cab, Lyft, Uber, or other car service to get them to and from their doctors appointments, physical therapy, diagnostic testing, etc.

In cases where the injuries result in significant restrictions, seeking the authorized treating doctor’s written explanation that the injured worker cannot walk or stand long enough to go to and from public transportation may help the arguments in favor of providing assistance. However, the appeals court for job injury cases, the Full Commission sitting in Richmond, has specifically indicated that where the employer did not provide transportation prior to the workplace injury, they cannot be expected to provide transportation afterwards; it  is the responsibility of the injured worker. 

 
After a fall from a crane, an injured worker will hopefully get well enough to return to light duty or part-time work. When this happens, issues may arise to transportation costs and the ability to use public transportation.

The insurance company may be required to reimburse for the mileage incurred going to it from doctors appointments physical therapy and testing, but it workplace accident doesn’t guarantee an employee a ride. Doug Landau is also been successful in getting clients reimbursed for parking at their doctors offices in the District of Columbia, tolls, etc. 

 
 If you or someone you know or care for has been injured at work, as the result of a car, truck, or other vehicle crash and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.