If you drive as part of your job, such as making deliveries or visiting clients, you may have a different type of legal claim if you get in a car accident while on the clock. You may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits, such as wage loss and medical costs, as well as a normal personal injury claim for your work-related injury.
However, your first priority should always be your health and safety. Even if you feel okay after the accident, be sure to go to a doctor as soon as possible. They can check for injuries you may not notice right away. This check-up can not only help you feel better, but it could also help your case.
After you take care of your health, you should consider what your rights and resources are to get compensation. A lawyer familiar with work-related claims can help you find the right path for your case. The important thing to remember is that you're not alone, and Accident.com is here to help you through your work-related injury.
Here are some points to keep in mind to see if you may qualify for workers' compensation or a personal injury claim if you were hurt driving for business.
What factors can affect my claim?
For your work-related injury to qualify for workers’ compensation, you must have been driving within the normal and expected scope of your job, such as driving to and from a job site or making a delivery. However, if you were making an unapproved detour, you may not qualify.
Another important factor is if you were driving a company car when the accident happened. Using a company car often protects the driver even while they're commuting because it's considered work-related. If you were driving a company car at the time of the crash, you likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
You may still qualify for workers’ compensation even if you were driving your own car if there are other facts that suggest you were driving for business. Examples of such facts include if you were logged into a driving app (such as Lyft) or if you were being paid for driving (like for pizza delivery).
Benefits Regardless of Fault
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system meant to provide support to employees who have a work-related injury. “No-fault” means that your employer can't blame you for the accident in order to block your benefits. You also don't need to prove someone else did anything wrong to get workers’ compensation.
However, most of the time, when an employee gets injured while driving for business, the employee’s only remedy against the employer is workers’ compensation. This means that even if your boss was careless in maintaining the vehicle and that lack of maintenance caused the accident, your only recovery is probably through workers’ compensation.
Still, each case has different facts and calls for different workers’ compensation benefits. As such, it's important to talk with a workers’ compensation attorney, like one from Accident.com. They can help you find the right path forward.
Workers' Compensation, Personal Injury or Both?
If you have a work-related injury from driving for business, you might have both a workers' compensation claim and a personal injury claim. You would have both types of claims if someone unrelated to your work caused the crash (this person is known as a "third party"). It may be a good idea to file both claims because each claim covers slightly different damages.
In all personal injury claims, recoveries offset the losses you may have endured. Some recoverable damages are similar to workers’ compensation, such as medical costs, past wage loss and future wage loss. However, some damages are only recoverable through personal injury claims.
For example, unlike a workers' compensation claim, a personal injury claim allows you to recover for the general damages you experience long-term. General damages may include living with constant pain from the injury, living with a disability, losing the ability to do hobbies or living with the negative effect the injury has had on your personal relationships. In some cases, you can get extra monetary damages (called punitive damages) from the at-fault party to punish them for particularly bad actions.
If you have both a workers' compensation and a personal injury claim, your attorney will take extra steps to prevent duplication of recovery for the same damages. In fact, many times, two attorneys will cooperate to handle workers' compensation and personal injury claims. Accident.com can help you find both lawyers.
As an example, imagine that workers' compensation covers damages A and B, while a personal injury claim covers damages B and C. Your two attorneys would work to recover damages A, B and C, even though you wouldn't be able to recover the B damages twice (once from workers' compensation and once in a personal injury claim).
Your attorney(s) will work with you, the opposing insurance companies and the workers’ compensation board to maximize your recovery while avoiding double recovery.
Speak With a Lawyer
If you were in a collision while driving for business, you may have claims for both workers’ compensation and personal injury. However, the processes and types of damages you can recover between these two systems are different. Be sure not to talk with a third party who has conflicting interests. Instead, speak with a lawyer, who can tailor a recommendation to the facts of your case and work for your benefit.
You can find an attorney to help you at Accident.com. We have a network of personal injury and workers' compensation lawyers who can offer you a free consultation to talk about your work-related injury.
Don't wait! Time may be running out for you to file your claim. Contact Accident.com today.