Which Insurance Applies After a NJ Car/Truck Accident While Working? Workers' Comp or Auto Insurance
When NJ drivers are injured in car or truck accidents, their auto insurance policies usually come into play. What happens if the driver was working at the time? This article will discuss the interplay of NJ auto and workers' comp insurance in these types of situations.
IntroductionWhen NJ drivers are injured in car or truck accidents, their auto insurance policies usually come into play. For instance, if a NJ driver is injured in a car accident in Cherry Hill, NJ and needs medical treatment, his own car insurance company pays for his medical expenses even though he did not cause the accident. What happens when a driver is working, i.e., driving a delivery van, and gets injured in a car accident? Does his own car insurance still pay for his medical expenses in this situation? The answer is no. If the driver was working at the time of the accident, workers' compensation comes into play.
NJ Workers' Compensation LawUnder New Jersey workers' compensation law, when workers/employees are injured while at work, medical expenses related to their injuries are covered by workers' compensation benefits provided by their employers. In addition, if workers cannot work for a period of time due to injury related disabilities, they are eligible to receive lost wages as part of the workers' compensation benefits.
Interplay of NJ Auto Insurance and Workers' CompensationIf a truck driver making a delivery for work is injured in a head-on collision in Mt. Laurel, NJ, his employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier pays for his medical expenses rather than his own car insurance policy. Therefore, after the accident, the employee needs to let his employer know that he was in an accident and file a workers' comp claim. The injured truck driver cannot go to just any doctor, he needs to seek treatment from a medical provider approved by the workers' compensation carrier.
Suing the At-Fault DriverIn addition to the workers' comp claim, the injured truck driver can also file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The at-fault driver's liability coverage from his auto insurance would compensate the truck driver for his injuries and damages. However, the injured truck driver's ability to file a NJ car accident lawsuit may be limited by the type of auto insurance policy he has. When buying car insurance, drivers choose between "no limitation on lawsuit" and "limitation on lawsuit," which is also called "verbal threshold." If the injured truck driver has "limitation on lawsuit," he can only sue the at-fault driver if his injuries fall within certain injury categories set by statute, such as displaced fractures. One of the most commonly litigated injury categories is the "permanent injury" category. What constitutes a "permanent injury" is fact specific. Under NJ law, a medical doctor is required to provide a certificate of permanency which affirms that the injuries are permanent and will not get better with additional treatment. If the injured truck driver is able to sue the at-fault driver and recovers financial compensation, the workers' compensation carrier has a right to recover a portion of the workers' comp benefits it paid on behalf of the injured truck driver. This is also known as a lien.