Getting into an accident is a traumatic experience. You are left with injuries, lost wages and a damaged car, and the costs add up quickly. However, if you are injured while on the job, you may not be held responsible. You can get money from workers compensation and/or a civil claim.
Were You Actually On The Job?
If you want to file a workers compensation claim, the first thing you'll need to determine is if you were actually on the job when the accident occurred. Generally speaking, this means you were driving to complete a work-related task, such as making a delivery, running an errand for your boss, driving to see a client, etc. Even if you don't use a company car and run the errands with your personal car, you can be covered while performing these work-related tasks.
In most cases, driving to and from work is not considered on the job, but there are a few exceptions to this rule. First, if your employer pays for your travel time to and from the office, then you are usually covered by workers compensation in the event of an accident. In another example, if you experience an accident on the way home from work, but you stopped to run an errand for work, you may also be covered.
Is Your Employer Liable?
If the accident was your fault, there are some instances where your employer can be held responsible instead of you. Negligence on the part of your employer is one reason they can be held responsible. It's the employer's responsibility to take adequate steps to ensure any employee they allow on the road to run errands is a safe driver. This may even include checking the employee's driving record. On top of that, the employer must have safety policies in place and make employees comply with them.
The other reason an employer can be held responsible is vicarious liability. Basically, this means that if your boss told you to run an errand, and you got into an accident, your employer could be held responsible. Of course, if you intentionally cause an accident, your employer is not responsible for those types of actions. This only includes tasks you were ordered to do. If you choose to make a personal stop along the way and then get into an accident, you are usually responsible.
Should You File A Civil Claim Or A Workers Compensation Claim?
If the other driver was responsible for the accident, and you qualify for workers compensation, you don't always have to choose one or the other. If you choose to file a civil claim against the other driver, you'll have to prove the accident was their fault, but if you win, you can get reimbursed for your medical expenses and any property damage (such as damage to your car). Workers compensation, on the other hand, doesn't tend to pay for damage to your car. It just pays for medical costs and lost wages, but it doesn't matter which driver is at fault.
If you do pursue both, however, it doesn't mean you'll get to keep all the money. Your employer may put a lien on any money you win from a civil case. Therefore, if your workers compensation claim is approved, and then you win even more money from a civil case, you may be required to pay back some or all of the workers compensation settlement.
After an accident, it's important to get the money you deserve to help pay for your medical bills and any other costs, especially if you are out of work for a short time. These three questions help you determine what your rights are when you are injured in a car accident while at work. For more information about accident settlements, contact an injury attorney in your area today. Click here for more information about on the job car accidents.