What Happens If I Get Into a Car Accident at Work?

Each year, several thousand car owners and pedestrians alike are hurt in motor vehicle collisions. Though a large number occur while running errands or simply getting from one place to another, many such as Salespeople, machinery operators, personal chauffeurs, police, urban or rural tour guides and cab drivers are on the job when the incident takes place.

A workplace injury is understood to be one that occurs during the course of the normal workday. Although if the injury took place while you were going to a work-related function, there’s a possibility your employer’s insurance company could cover it.

In case of car accidents, the company’s insurance plan will often manage it irrespective of whether the driver was at fault. In Florida, an employee is protected by Worker’s Compensation regulations. Even a minor accident that happens along the way to a work-related business meeting, might be considered a workplace injury.

So, if you’ve recently had a vehicle accident, how do you find out if Worker’s Compensation is enough?

For one thing, workers’ comp doesn’t cover property damage or pain and suffering. Therefore, when you accept Worker’s compensation from your employer, you still have a right to sue the person who caused, or had some fault in causing, the accident.

Under the law, this person is known as a “third party.” A good reason to sue a third party is that worker’s compensation won’t pay you for pain and suffering or other damages that you may be entitled to as a result of the accident. In fact, worker’s compensation will generally only cover you for basic medical expenses and lost wages. By suing a third party you are therefore trying to receive full compensation for your injuries. A third party may be required to pay you for various types of damages that you suffered as a result of the accident.

He or she may also be required to reimburse any worker’s benefits paid to you. What is important to understand, is that the worker’s compensation insurance company will have a right to join your lawsuit. In fact, the insurance company may bring the lawsuit in the first place and claim damages on your behalf.

Regardless of who starts the lawsuit, all parties who had a right to sue will be entitled to some portion of the recovery. This means that you may receive additional compensation for your injury, even if you never started or joined the lawsuit.

On the flip side, the insurance company will also be entitled to some portion of the recovery, if you start and carry-out the lawsuit alone. Under either circumstance, you will receive at least one-third of the proceeds of the lawsuit, after costs. The remaining amount will go to reimburse your employer for any worker’s compensation paid to you. If there is money left-over after that, it will go to you as well. However, the remaining portion will act as a “cushion” for future benefits. For instance, if there is a $20,000 cushion and you need future care for the injuries related to the car accident, worker’s compensation won’t start paying until you have spent $20,000 on that medical care.

If you have suffered an injury while working, obtain medical assistance if necessary. Make sure to document as diligently as possible the risks, environment, and outcome of the injury. Describe the injury to your manager and complete the necessary forms with as many details as you’re able. It is also a good idea to consult a personal injury attorney to weigh all the options available to your case.