Electric scooters have arrived in St. Joseph. Fun and useful for many, they can still be deceptively dangerous. The huge number of e-scooter accidents that have plagued cities in the past raise a pressing question for people who work in St. Joseph: If I ride an e-scooter while on the job and get hurt, will workers’ compensation cover me?
In Spite of Track Record, Bird E-Scooters Land in St. Joseph
Just before the July 4 holiday, about two dozen Bird e-scooters arrived in St. Joseph, Missouri. The timing was to take advantage of a heavily-traveled holiday, and came on the backside of a newly passed regulation that covered e-scooters on the roadway.
While many people enjoy riding the scooters recreationally, and many others find them useful to cover the last mile before a destination, these e-scooters have a long record of accidents, especially in the immediate aftermath of their unveiling. It takes new riders some time to get used to the deceptive power and speed, and until they do, there is an increased chance in an accident.
Will Workers’ Compensation Cover an E-Scooter Crash?
One segment of the e-scooter ridership is sure to be local St. Joseph employees. There are 2 possible situations where workers take an e-scooter and get hurt:
- They are commuting to or from the workplace, or
- They are on the job.
Generally No Coverage During the Commute
The easier answer is if the worker was hurt on the e-scooter while commuting to or from work.
In Missouri, workers’ compensation coverage only rarely applies to the commute. Workers hurt in an e-scooter accident on the way to their job or on their way home from it will generally not be able to recover workers’ compensation. The only exceptions are if the employee is paid for travel time and was just leaving or returning, or if the employee was running a workplace errand on their commute.
Employee Policies Govern On-the-Job E-Scooter Injuries
If the worker was on the job and took an e-scooter for official company business, and then got hurt in a crash, workers’ compensation may cover the resulting injuries. However, the terms of the employment contract or the workplace policies will matter a lot.
If the employee handbook or company policies forbid the use of e-scooters while on the job, then workers’ compensation will probably not cover the accident. Policies may also tell workers how they can and cannot use scooters. For example, company policies may require all workers wear helmets if they use an e-scooter on the job. Breaking these rules can mean that workers’ compensation will not cover the accident. The employee may even face workplace discipline for breaking the rules.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
Now that e-scooters are an actual part of life in St. Joseph, rather than just a hypothetical one, employers are likely to start adding these kinds of provisions into their employee handbooks to insulate themselves from liability.
The personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers at the Smith Law Office can help employees understand their rights. If an accident has already happened, we can help victims pursue the compensation they need and deserve.
Contact us online or call our law office at (816) 875-9373.