Auto Accident: While On The Job
The issue to be discussed in this guide is whether you should consider filing a claim against your employer's workers' compensation coverage when you are injured in an auto accident while on the job for your employer.
Workers CompensationIf you are injured in an auto accident while you are on the job for your employer, and the accident is not your fault, then you can file a claim with the insurance company for the at-fault driver, but you also have the option of filing a workers' compensation claim as well. However, depending on the facts involved in your particular accident, you may wish to forego the workers compensation claim and just pursue the auto insurance claim. Workers' compensation is a rather complicated statutory process. It is meant to provide a basic remedy to employees who are injured on the job. It provides medical treatment, temporary weekly payments until your treating physician states that you can return to work, and potentially provides a payment for any permanent impairment or disability resulting from your injury. There may be additional benefits available as well depending on the nature and extent of the injury. The medical treatment that you receive is generally controlled by a workers compensation insurance adjuster. If there is any dispute in the treatment process then treatment can be delayed while waiting for a hearing. Finally, after the workers compensation claim has been resolved, then the workers compensation insurance company will assert a right of subrogation, reimbursement, against your auto insurance claim.
Key FactorsWhether you will want to file the workers compensation claim when injured in an auto accident while on the job depends on several key factors.: The extent of the injuries that you sustained in the accident; the insurance coverage available with the insurance company for the at-fault driver; and the extent of time that might be missed from work due to the injuries.
Brief AnalysisIf you are involved in an auto accident and your injuries are not serious, and it appears that there is sufficient liability, uninsured motorist and medpay coverage available to compensate you for your injuries , and you will not miss much time from work, then it is probably not going to be worth the time and effort to file a workers' compensation claim. On the other hand, if you have a serious or potentially permanent injury, and you are likely to miss a lot of time from work then you are probably going to want to file the workers compensation claim.
SummaryIn summary, I usually do not recommend that my clients file a workers compensation claim when there is an auto accident involved unless:
1. There is a significant or permanent injury involved;
2. There is limited insurance coverage available in the auto case; or
3. The injuries will prevent the injured person from performing their job duties and they will likely miss a substantial amount of time from work.
Seek Legal AdviceIt is highly recommended that anyone who is involved in an auto accident immediately seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. It is particularly important when the auto accident happens while you are on the job. There are too many important issues involved which can have long term heath and financial consequences.