Workplace injuries can happen anywhere, from the office to the construction site. Some workers risk their lives on the road each day to earn a living. Work-related car accident injuries often occur due to distracted driving, speeding and drunk driving. Those who are typically injured include:
- Workers who drive for a living
- Roadside construction, DOT, and emergency workers
- Workers who occasionally travel for business or to attend company events
If a car accident happens within the scope of your employment, you're likely entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Unlike a personal injury or car accident case, you don't have to prove the negligence of the driver who hit you. There are a few things you should know about work-related car accidents, however.
First, you must prove that the accident happened while you were on the job. If you were commuting or were driving on an unpaid break, then you won't be eligible for workers' compensation. Second, you may be able to pursue a third-party workplace injury claim against the driver. That's as long as the driver isn't your supervisor or a fellow employee.
Difference between a workers' compensation and third-party claim
There is a significant difference between a workers' compensation claim and a third-party workplace injury claim. Your employer likely pays for workers' compensation insurance. This covers the medical expenses and lost wages of injured workers, despite who was at fault. Your injury must not have been caused by your own recklessness, however. For instance, if you showed up to work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and you were injured as a result, it's unlikely that you will be eligible for benefits.
A third-party workplace injury claim allows you to recover damages from another party that is not your employer. Here are some examples:
- A driver responsible for a car accident you sustained an injury in
- A contractor or employee from another company working on the same site as you
- The manufacturer of defective equipment or machinery that caused your injury
Injured workers in Ohio are eligible for two-thirds of their average weekly wage through workers' compensation. A third-party claim allows workers to recover additional lost wages. Moreover, workers can recover additional medical expenses, property damage, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Take your claim seriously from the start
When pursuing a workers' compensation or third-party claim after a work-related car accident, it's important to acknowledge that insurance companies are not interested in paying you. It's very easy for workers' compensation benefits to get delayed or denied when the process doesn't go smoothly. Take your claim seriously from the start by following these steps:
- Notify your employer of your injury in writing. Be sure to document the date, time and location of the incident. This creates a record of the incident for both you and your employer.
- Get a copy of the official car accident report so you have a record of the crash. You can obtain your report from the Ohio Department of Public Safety website.
- See a doctor promptly and get documentation of your diagnosis, treatment and doctor's recommendations.
- Consult with an experienced Ohio workers' compensation attorney when filing a claim.
The workers' compensation and personal injury lawyers at Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A. would be glad to go over your legal options and determine what type of benefits you're eligible for. If you sustained an injury on the job, contact us online or call us to find out how we can help you. We have law offices in Dayton, Cincinnati, Springfield and Troy.