If you were injured in a car accident while performing a work-related activity, you may be eligible to pursue compensation through a workers’ comp claim and personal injury lawsuit. Because of the intricacies of the laws that are triggered when an employee is injured in a car accident while on the job, you need an attorney with experience handling both types of claims. At Finz & Finz, P.C. our team of personal injury lawyers can handle even the most complex claims. You can call us 24/7 for a free case review to learn how we can help you.
When Does Workers’ Comp Apply in a Car Accident?
Whether workers’ comp applies when you are injured in a car accident is a highly fact-sensitive inquiry. It depends on the purpose of your trip and how it was related to your job. For example, if you were injured in an accident while commuting to and from work, workers’ comp would typically not apply.
However, if you performed a work-related task on your way to the office and then you were injured in an accident, your attorney may advise you to file a workers’ comp claim. Your attorney will gather all the necessary evidence to prove the injuries sustained in the accident were work-related to support your claim.
Generally speaking, if you were injured in a car accident in the course and scope of your employment doing one of the following tasks, you may be eligible to file a workers’ comp claim:
- Making deliveries
- Driving a fellow employee or customer
- Running errands for your employer
- Driving as part of your job duties
Can I Still Sue the Other Driver if I File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
If the third party that caused your work-related car accident was not your employer, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against them in addition to collecting workers’ comp benefits. Because workers’ comp benefits are limited to medical expenses and lost wages up to certain limits, your attorney may advise you to pursue other forms of compensation available when you file a civil lawsuit.
For example, you may seek the full value of your wages, plus money for your pain and suffering and other losses, including loss of consortium and loss of services. Further, if your vehicle was damaged in the accident, any financial losses related to that property damage could be pursued in a personal injury lawsuit. Money for property damage is not recoverable in a workers’ comp claim.
A knowledgeable attorney from Finz & Finz, P.C. with experience handling workplace accidents and personal injury matters will manage the deadlines associated with your case. If you were injured in a car accident in the scope of your employment that warrants pursuing workers’ comp benefits, your attorney will help you file a C-3 Employment Claim.
To maintain your eligibility for workers’ comp benefits, you must report the accident within thirty days of its occurrence to satisfy the “notice” requirement under the law. In addition to the 30-day notice requirement, New York has a two-year deadline for filing a work comp claim. Failure to meet these deadlines will likely result in the denial of your claim.
If your attorney believes you should also file a civil lawsuit against the third-party responsible for the accident and your injuries, you must file within three years of the date of the accident. If you fail to initiate your lawsuit within this time frame, you will likely be barred from pursuing compensation in court for your injuries and financial losses.
At Finz & Finz, P.C., we understand that the stress of managing these deadlines may be overwhelming while you recover from your injuries. Contacting a car accident lawyer with experience handling workers’ comp and personal injury cases as soon as possible after the accident will put your mind at ease. You can rest assured that your attorney will handle these and other case management deadlines.
Do I Have to Repay Workers’ Comp?
Yes. If you seek and receive workers’ comp benefits and then pursue money in a personal injury lawsuit against the driver that caused the accident, your employer or its workers’ comp benefits insurance carrier may have a lien against any money you receive in a settlement or judgment in your favor. However, the workers’ comp carrier must share in the cost of the litigation in the lawsuit to be able to assert its lien. The cost of the litigation fees will be apportioned according to the total benefit the workers’ comp carrier receives.
For example, if you receive work comp benefits for medical expenses and lost wages in the amount of $20,000 and then settle your personal injury lawsuit for $40,000, the lien on your settlement maybe $20,000. This means you may need to repay the $20,000 you received from the workers’ comp insurance company. Sometimes, workers’ comp carriers are willing to reduce their lien for the purposes of reaching a settlement. The strategy involved in negotiating the reduction of a workers’ comp lien highlights the need for an attorney adept at handling worker’ comp and civil lawsuits.
The intersection of workers’ comp claims and personal injury lawsuits is complex. Because of how the applicable laws and procedures interact, having a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in handling both workers’ comp claims and civil lawsuits is crucial to receiving your maximum recovery.
Why You Need A Lawyer from Finz & Finz, P.C.
Let a New York personal injury lawyer with Finz & Finz, P.C. help you demand the maximum compensation you deserve after a car accident. Our attorneys will swiftly determine the best means to pursue the money you deserve, whether through workers’ comp benefits alone or with a civil lawsuit, and go to work on your behalf.
We know the legal process can be intimidating, and we want to assist you in all aspects of your case. Our initial case reviews are free, so call us today to learn about your legal options after an accident.