If you spend the majority of your day behind the wheel, you have a dangerous job. You may not think your position in sales or your job as a plumber is particularly dangerous—but driving puts you at risk of an accident. On-the-job traffic accidents are the leading cause of worker death in the United States. Countless workers are injured in car accidents, and often times, they have legal rights beyond workers’ compensation. While workers’ compensation is typically the primary means to make a claim for medical treatment and lost wages through the employer, it’s not the only option. Under Pennsylvania auto accident law, claims can be made for financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering against the at-fault driver as well. Our attorneys at Georgelis Injury Law Firm, P.C. have recovered millions of dollars for injured workers. Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law is very complex, and that’s why it is so important to give us a call right away if you’ve been injured on the job.
- Critical Factors to Consider for Auto Accidents while Driving for Work
- Am I covered by Workers’ Compensation or Auto Insurance?
- Was the Accident Caused by Another Driver?
Critical Factors to Consider for Auto Accidents while Driving for Work
Our attorneys evaluate each case to determine if workers’ compensation applies when an accident happens in a company vehicle. There are three major elements that come into play.
- Is using the company car a condition of employment?
- Was the injured worker actually working at the time of the accident?
- Was the individual hurt while driving to or from work?
Take for example, a delivery driver out making deliveries in Lancaster. While going through an intersection, another driver fails to stop. That driver rams into the delivery driver at full speed, severely injuring the delivery driver. In this case, the delivery driver can make a workers’ compensation claim for medical bills and lost wages. Furthermore, the delivery driver has the legal right to file an auto accident lawsuit against the other driver for negligence.
Generally speaking, an auto accident that happens while an employee is on his or her way to work is not covered by workers’ compensation. One common exception is if the employee has no fixed place of work and works from home.
Here are some more examples of company car auto accidents that would likely be covered under workers’ compensation:
- The car accident happened while driving to a client or business meeting.
- The car accident happened while performing some sort of work related duty, such as driving to a conference or picking up supplies.
Another important item to note –workers’ comp is no fault, so medical bills are covered, even if the employee caused the crash.
Am I Covered by Workers’ Compensation or Auto Insurance?
In the aftermath of a work related car accident, getting medical bills paid is one of the biggest concerns. Under Pennsylvania law, workers’ compensation insurance is the primary go-to in work related auto accident cases. While workers’ compensation is supposed to apply first, many times, the auto insurance company is contacted and ends up being the first source of coverage. So, they make the initial medical payments, and then later, they seek reimbursement from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Our state requires personal injury protection on every auto insurance policy, and it applies regardless of who’s at fault. The minimum medical coverage is $5,000 per person, although you can certainly purchase higher limits, which Georgelis Injury Law Firm recommends you do. So, while there’s often some confusion over which carrier should be contacted first—in the end, the injured worker typically has coverage through their employer.
Was the Accident Caused by Another Driver?
Workers’ Compensation law prevents an employee from suing his employer for an on-the-job injury. That said, injured workers can seek additional compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against a third-party who caused them to become injured on the job. This is known as a third party claim, and in no way does it depend on a workers’ compensation claim. An individual can make both claims at the same time.
Take for example, a drunk or reckless driver caused an accident that led to your catastrophic injuries. A lawsuit against them may provide better compensation than your workers’ comp claim. Workers’ compensation claims cover medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. A personal injury lawsuit, however, can also cover non-economic losses, such as your pain and suffering and loss of life’s pleasures and enjoyments.
While an employee can file both a workers’ compensation and a third-party bodily injury claim at the same time, if the former is successful, the employer may seek reimbursement for your workers’ compensation benefits.
There is a lot to consider when you’re injured on the job. Which path is best for you? It depends on the cause of the accident and many other factors. If you’ve been injured in a vehicle while on the job, Call Georgelis First! Our attorneys are experienced in both workers’ compensation and car accident cases. They will get you the answers you need and help you take the steps to get the compensation you deserve. Contact Georgelis Injury Law Firm, P.C. at 1-800-HURT NOW for a free consultation. We’re available 24/7 and there’s never a fee unless we get money for you!