Hurt in an accident while on the clock? Our attorneys can help!
If a person is injured in an automobile accident during the performance of his or her employment, it can evolve into a rather complex situation. The law works a bit differently with on-the-job injuries than it does when an accident occurs on your own time.
Anytime you are injured in a car accident while in the performance of your job, you will come up against some unique legal issues that do not develop in normal car accidents. One of the differences you will note is that if your employer has workers’ compensation, it will have an impact on any potential settlement.
How workers’ compensation plays a role.
The first thing you need to determine is if your employer actually subscribes to workers’ compensation insurance. Contrary to popular belief, workers’ comp is not required in Texas, and many employers choose to go without it. To learn whether or not you are covered by workers’ comp, check this page on the Texas Department of Insurance website. If your employer does not subscribe to a state-approved WC insurance policy, your accident will be treated just the same as any other car accident. If your employer does have workers’ compensation, your claim will work a bit differently.
While you will not be entitled to workers’ compensation if you are involved in an accident during your commute to or from work, if you were driving while within the course and scope of your employment (e.g., driving between job sites, performing an errand such as picking up lunch at the request of your boss, etc.), any injuries you suffer in an accident could qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
It’s important to understand that when you’re injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, whether or not you were on the clock at the time or in a company vehicle, your personal injury claim is with the other driver. It’s also important to understand that workers’ compensation is no-fault, meaning that they should pay WC benefits to workers injured while on the job, regardless of any determination of fault.
Steps you must take.
If you were injured in an accident while on the clock, you will need to file a workers’ comp claim in order to receive medical treatment and compensation for time away from work. Unfortunately, workers’ comp does not pay you 100% of your lost wages, and generally will not cover damages such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, etc.
If the accident was caused by another driver, your attorney will also need to file a personal injury claim with that driver’s insurance company. If and when you settle your personal injury claim with the insurance company (or the case is decided in court), workers’ comp is entitled to recover any money they previously paid you directly from your personal injury award. For example, if WC has paid you 70% of your wages for the two weeks of work you missed ($1,500), but you settled your injury claim for $30,000 with the driver’s insurance company, $1,500 of your settlement will be paid to workers’ comp. This is called subrogation.
What is subrogation?
Subrogation can be defined as the legal right of one party (in this case, your workers’ comp insurance provider) who has made a payment to the victim which is technically owed by another party (in this case, the at-fault driver’s insurance company), to collect the money directly from the party that owes the debt. Simply speaking, it gives your workers’ comp provider the legal right to recoup any money they’ve paid you, should you receive compensation from the negligent party.
Do I need a lawyer?
If you’ve been injured, then yes, you will stand to benefit greatly from having an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney at your side. You only get one shot at a lawsuit, and something as simple as a missed deadline can result in your case being dismissed. Additionally, without an attorney, you have no leverage against the insurance company.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that auto insurance carriers are obligated to pay you for your injuries. While it’s true that when it comes to workers’ compensation, life insurance, health insurance, and other types of insurance, the contracts state the carriers must pay you what they have agreed to pay provided you meet specific qualifying criteria. On the other hand, when the case involves obtaining money from the other party’s insurance company, they don’t legally owe you anything unless a court judgment says that they do.
The insurance company will only offer to settle with you in order to avoid a lawsuit that they feel they may lose. Without an attorney handling your case, the insurance company is simply not afraid of losing in court, and as such, will only offer a low-ball settlement. Just because your workers’ compensation carrier paid you with no problem does not mean that the other driver’s insurance company is going to be as quick or eager to pay you what you’re owed.
While this may be confusing to read, rest assured that the attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are very experienced in these type of car accident claims, and we will work hard to get you every penny you deserve. Call our Dallas car accident lawyers today at 1-877-405-4313 for a free consultation.
Speak With a Dallas Auto Accident Attorney For Free
The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at 1-877-405-4313.