Find A Lawyer Legal Articles Attorney Login

Can I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits For A Car Accident?

Offered by Shebell & Shebell, LLC

An experienced attorney can guide you through the claims process

Getting injured at work can impact your life in many ways. You need medical treatment for your injuries. You may be unable to do your job for some time, resulting in a loss of income. The worker’s compensation system is designed to help injured workers by covering the cost of medical expenses and provide partial wages until you are able to resume your duties.

Workers’ compensation benefits cover a wide range of situations involving injury or illness. It generally doesn’t matter how an accident happened or who was at fault. Workers are eligible for benefits if they are injured in a workplace accident, or hurt at another location while doing their job.

But what if you were in a car accident that was work-related? Do workers’ compensation benefits apply? The short answer is it depends.

Were you on the job or commuting at the time of the accident?

Under the “going and coming” rule in New Jersey, commuting to and from work is not considered job-related. So if you are hurt in a car accident on your way to work or on your way home from work, you generally are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, but if you were on the job when the crash happened, you should be eligible.

This can be contentious, depending on the circumstances. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if:

  • Driving is part of your job. Some people report to the same location each day – such as an office building or factory, for example. But others have no fixed work address and travel as part of their jobs. These include delivery drivers, salespeople, service technicians, and home health workers.
  • You have a company car. Some workers use a company vehicle that they take home. If they are involved in a car accident while driving the company vehicle, this may be considered an exception to the rule, depending on the circumstances.
  • You were traveling for work. If you are traveling to another location as part of your job, injuries sustained in an accident during that trip would be covered under workers’ compensation. The duration of the trip generally starts when you drive toward your destination and ends when you get back.
  • You were on a “special mission.” All this means is that you were asked to make a work-related stop during your commute. For example, you were asked to pick up something at a client’s office.
  • You were working outside of your regular hours. For example, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured in an accident while on call.
  • Your injuries occurred on company property. If a car accident occurred on company premises, such as a parking lot, you may be eligible to receive benefits.

Can you file a third-party claim after a work-related car accident?

The short answer is yes. You can’t sue your employer for a work accident, including a car accident, but if your crash was caused by someone other than your employer, you have the same right to take legal action as anyone else injured in a motor vehicle accident. You may be able to recover compensation for damages that workers’ comp doesn’t cover, such as pain and suffering.

However, any compensation you recover may be subject to subrogation – that is, the workers’ comp insurance company may ask to be reimbursed out of your personal injury settlement or verdict. An attorney can explain your options and advocate for your interests throughout this process.

What to do if you are in a work-related car accident

If you are involved in a work-related crash, there are steps you can take to protect your health and your right to workers’ compensation benefits.

Call the police. Officers from local law enforcement or the New Jersey State Police will respond. They will secure the scene and get help for the injured. They will also complete an accident report, called the New Jersey Crash Investigation Report.

Get medical attention. See a doctor, even if you feel fine. Some injuries have delayed symptoms. A doctor can diagnose your injuries and begin treatment. Your injuries will also be documented.

Report the accident. Notify your employer about your injury as soon as possible. The law requires workers to notify their employers within a certain amount of time, depending on the type of injury.

Gather information. Get the names and contact information for the other driver and any witnesses. Order a copy of your accident report. Keep copies of all medical bills and other documents related to what happened.

Talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The goals of employers and insurance companies is to minimize your claim and get you back to work as soon as possible. An attorney will have your best interests in mind.

How a New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer can help

Initials claims for benefits may be denied. Employers may argue that a car accident was not work-related. Insurance companies may dispute the seriousness of your injuries. An experienced attorney can guide you through the claims process every step of the way. A lawyer can:

  • Ensure that all paperwork includes required information and is filed on time
  • Investigate your accident to gather evidence
  • File an appeal if your claim for benefits is denied
  • Represent you at all informal and formal hearings in front of the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation
  • Appeal a denial of benefits to the state courts of New Jersey and the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, if needed
  • Negotiate a settlement with the insurance company
  • Fight against attempts to force you to return to work while you are still recovering from your injuries

An attorney can also discuss other legal options you may have, including a potential third-party claim against another driver.

If you’ve been in a car accident that is work-related, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Contact a workers’ compensation attorney for a free consultation.

Workers’ Compensation Assistance Car Accidents Assistance
Shebell & Shebell, LLC
Power Profile

Founded in 1927, Shebell & Shebell, LLC fights for the rights of injury victims. We handle workers’ compensation, construction accidents and personal injury claims. We have office...