Have you recently been in an auto accident at work? When you get in a car crash in the course of your employment, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits covering your medical care and lost wages.
When Car Accident Injuries Are Compensable
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must have been in the car when the accident occurred because of work. In other words, the injuries must arise out of your employment. A delivery driver who gets in an accident while driving his truck to make a delivery clearly has injuries arising from his employment. Even if driving is not part of your regular job duties, a one-time car trip leading to an accident may still count as work.
In contrast, injuries from an accident that occurs while you drive from your home to work are not compensable. Commuting is not considered a time when you are performing work, because you are not on the clock yet. Further, sometimes people make car trips as part of their jobs but stop along the way to run personal errands. Injuries that occur while running a personal errand may not be compensable through the workers’ compensation system. Also, whether you were using a company vehicle or a personal vehicle could affect your case.
Does It Matter If I Was At Fault for the Accident?
In Minnesota, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that usually it does not matter whether the injured worker did something wrong that led to the accident. The no-fault principle is true for everything from industrial accidents to car crashes.
Be aware, though, that state traffic laws still apply to you when you drive a vehicle for work. If you are in a serious accident for which you are found at fault, you could face legal charges affecting your employment. Workers’ compensation only provides benefits to compensate you for your injuries in an accident. Filing a claim does not protect you from other legal issues.
What to Do After the Accident
After the accident, notify your employer immediately – especially if you were driving a company truck or car. Ask about making a workers’ compensation claim and about contacting the auto insurance company. Of course, if you have injuries seek out medical treatment immediately. Sometimes car accident injuries take a few days to cause pain – such as whiplash or back injuries. If you find yourself hurting days later, seek medical attention so that your injuries are documented for the workers’ compensation insurance company.
Have you been injured in a work-related car accident and need help getting benefits? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.