Car accidents on the job present their own complex legal issues. In theory, you could receive workers’ compensation benefits if you can show that you were working at the time of the accident.
However, there are a number of gray areas that the insurance company could exploit. In addition, you could even qualify for a settlement (whether you were on the job or off it) if you can show that someone else was at fault. Call the experienced Greenville workers’ compensation attorneys at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm today to learn more about the legal process and your options.
You Need to Be Working to Get Benefits
In all workers’ compensation cases, there is a fine line between when you may qualify for benefits and when an injury is not considered work-related.
If you are in your car, on your personal commute to and from work, you may not be on the job. A car accident on the way to work would not invoke workers’ compensation. Thus, these types of car accident injuries would not entitle you to workers’ compensation.
In these types of accidents, the normal rules of compensation would apply. If someone else was to blame for your accident, you would still be entitled to financial compensation.
Some People May Be Required to Drive for Work
Workers’ compensation will cover most any injury that is work-related. Some people may be asked to travel off their premises on behalf of their job. For example, you could be employed as a repairperson who is driving the company van to and from the job site. You could even be in your own car, traveling to or from a meeting off-site.
Either way, if you are on the job at the time of the accident, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Other instances of drivers who may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Truck drivers
- Others who drive for a living
- A car accident when you are on company premises
- Your employer has sent you on an errand
However, those who drive as independent contractors would be eligible for workers’ compensation since there is no employer in the picture. Uber and Lyft drivers cannot receive workers’ comp.
You Can Qualify for Benefits Even if You Were At Fault
Workers’ compensation for a car accident is not limited by fault. Even if you were the one who was negligent, you could still qualify for workers’ compensation.
Generally, workers’ compensation may only be limited or denied when you deliberately broke safety rules that caused the accident. For example, you would be denied benefits if you were intoxicated at the time of the accident. If you made a wrongful lane change, it would be considered ordinary negligence, and you would still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
There may be other times when fault is inconclusive in the accident. Both drivers could be equally to blame for the accident. Here, you would still be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Settlements for Car Accident Injuries
Workers’ compensation benefits are helpful, but they only cover a certain part of your damages. Generally, you are paid for some of your economic damages. Workers’ compensation claims cover reasonable medical expenses to treat your work-related injuries. They will also pay two-thirds of your lost wages up to a statutory cap. These payments can get you treatment and partially keep you afloat, but they do not fully compensate you for everything that you lost.
While workers’ compensation may be available to you after a car accident, you do not want to rule out other ways that you could get an even larger check. A car accident settlement would result in more payment than a workers’ compensation claim.
You would be able to get compensation for:
- Property damage
- Your full lost wages (as opposed to part of your lost wages up to a statutory cap)
- Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress
You would need to prove that a third party was at fault before you could qualify for a settlement. Your attorney would gather evidence that could prove that they were negligent in causing your car accident. You could always file a workers’ compensation claim right after your accident and then reimburse the insurance company from the proceeds of a car accident settlement.
You Need Legal Help if You Were in a Car Accident at Work
For any work-related car accident, it is essential that you file a workers’ compensation claim immediately, even if you intend to file a claim or lawsuit later. You cannot be certain that you will be in a position to receive a settlement. You never know how an insurance company will respond when you file a claim.
In the meantime, you have a limited amount of time to notify your employer and file a workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ compensation payments could keep you afloat financially while you work to negotiate a reasonable settlement.
Since you may need to navigate both the workers’ compensation system and the personal injury process, you should hire an attorney who has experience in both areas. Alone, you’d need to manage several procedures at the same time, which can be difficult when you are dealing with physical injuries. Your lawyer can help you figure out the most effective route to financial compensation, and they would work to maximize what you can get.
Contact a Greenville Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you have been involved in a car accident while on the job, the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm in Greenville can represent you in both your workers’ compensation and your potential personal injury claim. You cannot let too much time elapse after the accident before you get legal help, especially since you may have tight timelines for a workers’ compensation claim.
Call us today at (864) 280-7660, or use our online contact form to speak with a lawyer about your case. You can also make an appointment on our website. You owe us nothing for our services unless you win your case.