Mikhail Aleshin, a rookie driver for Sam Schmidt and the first Russian driver in IndyCar history, was hospitalized in serious but stable condition after a four-vehicle collision during the final practice session for the IndyCar season finale. Aleshin’s vehicle spun after a turn, slid back to the track and then collided with Charlie Kimball’s car. It sent Aleshin’s car flying in the air and the wheel was wrapped in a hole in the fencing. Aleshin was airlifted to the Loma Linda University Medical Center where he was found to have broken his ribs, his right collarbone, and incurred chest injuries and a concussion.
Employees Injured on the Road
Although we don’t know the details of Aleshin’s contractual agreement with his employer, Sam Schmidt, it’s reasonable to assume due to the nature of the job that there is a provision regarding car accidents and injuries on the tracks. However, racecar drivers are not the only employees who can incur injuries on the road. Delivery persons, long-haul truckers, and cab and bus drivers are some of the many employees who get behind the wheel as part of their jobs and could be injured. Employees who are injured on-the-job may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
According to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, employees should immediately report injuries to their employer and request medical treatment if necessary. An employee that neglects to file a report 90 days after the workplace injury may lose out on the workers’ compensation benefits. If the employer does not report the accident, denies the employee workers’ compensation or if the employee thinks he or she has not received the full benefit they are entitled to, the employee could submit Form 50 or Form 52 to the SC Workers’ Compensation Commission. The employee may also want to consult with a labor attorney experienced with workers’ compensation claims to plan and decide on the best course of action.
Under the workers’ compensation program, an eligible employee is entitled to all necessary medical treatment that will likely lessen the disability. For a professional driver like Aleshin, if he is eligible for workers’ compensation, this might include physical therapy for his back to regain mobility so he can get behind the wheel again.
Workers’ compensation may cover surgery, hospitalization, prosthetic devices, medical supplies and prescriptions if the employee goes to a doctor approved of by the employer or the insurance company. However, depending on the nature of the injury, the employer or the insurance company may not include specialists that can provide necessary medical treatment.
Additionally, a doctor may release a patient with a scar. If this scar is non-surgical and is visible from at least eight feet away, the insurance company may arrange for an informal conference or viewing to assess the physical damage and determine compensation, if any. An employee may want to have an attorney present during this viewing to make sure that they are being treated fairly and reasonably by the insurance company. A labor attorney experienced in workers’ compensation can guide and assist employees to a full recovery—both in health and in the workplace.