A lot of people have to drive as part of their jobs, whether they operate a delivery truck, travel to clients’ homes or attend a lot of out-of-town concerts. That means that there is always the possibility that they’ll end up in a wreck while they’re working.
If you’ve been sidelined after an on-the-job car accident, what happens next? How do you get treated for your injuries? What can you do about your lost wages?
Workers’ compensation is one available resource
Workers’ compensation covers you for any on-the-job injuries, even when they’re the result of a crash. So long as you were traveling as part of your work activities, workers’ comp benefits will provide medical care for your wounds and some replacement wages. This is generally true even if you made a mistake that led to the crash.
It’s important to remember, however, that wage replacement benefits through workers’ compensation are only two-thirds of your average weekly wage. In addition, there’s no provision to pay an injured worker for their pain and suffering. That can make the benefits feel largely inadequate for an injured worker’s needs after a serious accident.
A personal injury claim is another possible resource
What if you’re not responsible (or not entirely responsible) for the crash? Workers’ compensation is usually an injured employee’s only recourse against their employer, but you may be entitled to make a third-party claim against the other driver who hit you.
Pennsylvania follows a contributory negligence rule that says you can recover damages in a car accident so long as your negligence isn’t greater than the other party’s negligence, although your compensation will be reduced according to your share of the blame. In other words, if you have $100,000 worth of injuries and losses but you were 10% responsible for the wreck, you would receive $90,000 in compensation.
In short, it’s important to fully explore your legal options after a workplace injury. You may not realize that you’re essentially “leaving money on the table” by not filing a personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ comp claim, depending on the nature of your unique circumstances. Seeking legal guidance can help you to clarify your rights and options under the law.