How to Approach Car Accidents While Driving for Work
Falling victim to a car accident can not only impact you physically and mentally but also financially, especially if you rely on your car for work. A car accident while driving for work is more complicated than a traditional accident, as it includes factors like workers’ compensation and subrogation. The attorneys at Wenholz | Dow, P.C., Trial Lawyers are uniquely qualified to advocate on your behalf after a work-related car accident in Austin, TX, and he will work tirelessly to maximize your compensation. To learn more about your legal options, schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.
Steps to Take after an Accident
- The first step to take, if you have not already, is to report your injury to your employer and see a doctor. The sooner you are examined by a medical professional, the easier it is to connect your injury to your accident. This is crucial to both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.
- If possible, you should then file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. You have to file within thirty days of the injury. Note that employers are not required to provide workers' compensation coverage in Texas, and many employers do not subscribe to this benefit.
- You should then file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance provider. Remember that any workers’ compensation benefits you receive may be recovered if you also receive a personal injury award. This is called subrogation.
Workers’ Compensation Considerations
Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that covers workplace injuries. Employees with workers’ compensation coverage may apply for this benefit if the car accident occurred while driving within the course and scope of employment. This includes:
- Driving between job sites
- Performing a work-related errand
- Driving to a work meeting
Workers’ compensation does not apply if you are commuting to and from work. If your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage, your accident will be processed like any other car accident claim.
A key differentiator between workers’ compensation and other car insurance accident claims is that workers’ compensation is no-fault coverage. In other words, the benefit will be paid to the injured person, regardless of whether or not they are at-fault.
What is Subrogation?
If you are pursuing both workers' compensation and a personal injury claim, it is important to understand subrogation. Subrogation is defined as the legal right of one party (your workers’ compensation insurance provider) to make a payment that is owed by another party (the at-fault driver’s insurance company) and then collect the money directly from the party that owes the debt. Simply speaking, it gives your workers’ comp provider the legal right to recoup any money they have paid you, should you receive compensation from the defendant.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
An attorney can guide you through the legal complexities of workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.
Negotiate in Response to Subrogation
Although the workers’ compensation provider has rights to your personal injury damages through subrogation, a qualified lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to protect as much of your recovered damages as possible.
Pursue Your Employer
An attorney can also pursue employers who opt out of workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation affords guaranteed benefits to injured workers. In exchange, employees forgo the right to file a lawsuit against the employer. In other words, without workers’ compensation, employers can be held liable for workplace injuries.
The benefits awarded by workers’ compensation are not all-encompassing. They do not account for any damages indirectly related to the incident, such as pain and suffering. Even if you collect workers' compensation, you may be entitled to additional monies related to the emotional cost of an accident. You are far more likely to maximize your damages when your claim is represented by an attorney.
The overlapping areas of workers’ compensation and personal injury is complex and often confusing. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you deserve an attorney who will fight for your best interests.