What You Need to Know If You Were Injured in a Car Accident While Working

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You may make deliveries for a living or simply run errands for your boss. Many construction workers drive trucks around job sites as well. Regardless, if you use your vehicle while on the job, you risk being in a car accident while working. If that happens, you may have many different options to recover compensation for your losses. New York Workers’ Compensation may cover your accident, but you may also be able to make a third-party claim against the person responsible for the wreck. Read below to learn more about your options.

Will Workers’ Compensation Cover My Work-Related Car Accident?

If you were on the job while driving and your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, then it should cover you if you are injured in a wreck. However, if you were simply driving to or from work, you may not be covered by workers’ comp in New York. Similarly, if your employer did not have workers’ comp insurance, you may have to find another option to recover for your losses.

In order to determine if workers’ comp will cover your accident, you must answer the question of whether or not you were actually “on the job” at the time of the car accident. If your job is composed entirely of driving and you were “on the clock,” then the answer might be an easy “yes.” However, there are many situations where it can be difficult to determine if workers’ comp will cover your claim.

You should be covered by workers’ comp in New York if you were:

  • Driving a vehicle that belongs to your employer while on company business
  • Making deliveries for your workplace, such as a pizza delivery person
  • Running errands for your employer
  • Driving a coworker or equipment from one job site to another
  • Driving to clients’ locations or for work, such as a salesperson visiting clients

You are not likely to be covered under workers’ compensation if you were:

  • On your lunch break or running personal errands
  • Injured on your commute to or from work, unless you are paid for your commute time
  • Acting in a reckless manner, such as driving drunk or under the influence of drugs
  • Breaking the law while driving
  • Breaking a company policy while driving

It can be difficult to determine if workers’ compensation will cover your car accident, so you should always seek legal advice when filing a claim after a wreck.

What Type of Financial Compensation Can I Get After a Work-Related Accident?

If your car accident is covered by workers’ compensation, you can get a variety of benefits. New York workers’ compensation will cover your medical expenses, part of your lost wages, disability, and more. If your loved one dies in a work-related car accident, you can also obtain death benefits for the surviving spouse and/or minor children.

You can get 100% of your medical expenses paid by workers’ compensation. In order to get this benefit, you must see doctors who are authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board, except in an emergency situation. Therefore, if you go to the emergency room after a work-related car accident, you can see any doctor available and it should be covered. All testing, such as x-rays, MRIs, and blood work, is also covered. Ongoing medical treatment, such as physical therapy, is also included in workers’ comp medical benefits.

Workers’ Comp also provides cash benefits after a work-related accident. Cash benefits are not paid for the first seven days of a disability unless it extends beyond fourteen days. In that case, benefits may be dated from the first day off the job due to the injury. If you are totally or partially disabled, you may receive payment based on your average weekly wage for the previous year. Your disability benefits will equal two-thirds of your average weekly wage times the percentage of your disability.

Supplemental benefits are available to you if you are considered to be most affected by rising costs. There are two categories of people who fall into this group: claimants who are permanently and totally disabled and widows/widowers receiving death benefits. A combination of weekly benefits, death benefits, and supplemental benefits cannot exceed $215 per week.

Death benefits are available to surviving spouses and minor children of workers who die in a work-related accident. Death benefits are paid as weekly cash benefits and are equal to two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage for the year before the accident. If there is no one to collect weekly death benefits, the estate of the deceased worker may be entitled to a payment of $50,000. Funeral expenses may also be paid.

Can I Make a Personal Injury Claim After a Work-Related Car Accident?

In addition to or instead of a workers’ compensation claim, you may be able to make a third-party personal injury claim against your employer, another driver, or another party who is at fault in your car accident.

A personal injury claim is different than a workers’ compensation claim because it goes through a legal process rather than an administrative process like workers’ compensation. The legal process can be more costly and take more time. It is best to work with a lawyer who is familiar with the New York legal system to make sure insurance companies and the other party do not take advantage of you throughout the process.

 

If you file a personal injury claim, you may be able to win money to cover losses, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Property damage
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical limitations
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium

If your loved one died in a car accident that was work-related, you can make a wrongful death claim and recover damages under the New York Wrongful Death and Survival Action laws.

Why Is It Important to Work With an Attorney After a Work-Related Accident?

If you are injured in a work-related accident, it can be difficult to know what to do. There will be a lot of paperwork and important deadlines to meet. Insurance companies will be calling you and you will need to focus on your own health and recovery. Instead of stressing about the legal issues, you should consult a workers’ comp attorney.

Your attorney can obtain workers’ compensation forms for you and help you complete the necessary documents. They will also collect medical documentation to support the severity of your claim and your percentage of disability so that you continue to receive the appropriate amount of cash benefits.

If you need to file a personal injury claim, your attorney can collect evidence and negotiate with insurance companies that will not be looking out for your best interests. You need someone to protect your rights and fight for you after a car accident.

Bio: Attorney Jonathan Damashek has worked with hundreds of clients who have been injured, and he takes a particular interest in workers’ comp claims. He stands up against large corporations, insurance companies, and their legal teams to make sure his clients’ rights are protected. His law firm, Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. in NYC focuses on construction accidents, personal injury, wrongful death, and more.