Work-Related Motor Vehicle Accidents
Some people commute to an office every morning and sit at a desk until they are ready to clock out at 5 p.m. Your reality may be a bit different. A vast amount of occupations requires you to be up and on the go, driving to and from clients and worksites. Your position may be predicated on driving if your main duty is to deliver or pick up products. While you might enjoy this aspect of your profession, it adds risk. Traffic accidents are unfortunately common in Texas and being in a work vehicle does not protect you from a crash.
If you are injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident, then you have to determine how you can recover compensation. You may have workers’ compensation insurance to turn to or you may need to file a lawsuit against the individual who caused the collision.
Are You Covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation is state-regulated insurance coverage for individuals injured in a work-related accident or suffering from a work-related medical condition. Many employees are covered by the Texas workers’ compensation system. However, not all are. Texas does not require all private insurers to have workers’ compensation insurance – though they can choose to have it anyway. Instead, only private employers who work on public projects and public employers must have this insurance coverage. If you were hurt while on the job or have been diagnosed with a medical condition related to your work, then you should determine if you have workers’ compensation insurance right away.
Moving Forward With a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If your employer provides workers’ compensation insurance and you were injured in a vehicle accident during work, you should notify your supervisor as soon as possible. Under Texas law, you have 30 days from the date of your injury, or the day you were diagnosed with an injury or condition, to notify your employer. If you wait too long to let your employer know you are hurt, you may lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
You will need to complete a workers’ compensation claim form and send it to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation, within one year of the date of your injury. While you have a year to do this, you should do it sooner rather than later.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits After a Collision
If you are hurt in a work-related car accident and are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, then you are entitled to medical and income benefits. The workers’ compensation system will pay for your necessary and appropriate medical expenses related to your injury. While you can expect this to cover all of your emergency care, on-going treatment, and physical rehabilitation, there are limits. Your employer may try to deny overly expensive or risky treatments. If you are having a hard time getting the medical care you need for a work-related injury, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
While you are out of work because of the injury, you may be able to receive a portion of your wages for a period of time. The type of income benefits you receive depends on your situation, such as if you are currently out of work to recover but will likely return to the job or if you the accident led to a disability and inability to work. Texas offers temporary income benefits, impairment income benefits, supplemental income benefits, and lifetime income benefits, depending on your situation.
Was a Third Party From Outside of Work Involved in the Crash?
If you were in a vehicle accident while working, the party responsible for the accident may have been someone entirely unaffiliated with your employer. If you were driving on public roads, it is not surprising that the at-fault driver was an independent third party. If you were on a work site, the at-fault party might be a worker from another business. In either case, you may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident and your injuries.
If you are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance, turning to the personal injury claim process may be your only way to recover compensation for your medical costs, loss of earning capacity, and physical pain. You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to determine who was liable for your accident and whether you need to file a third-party auto insurance claim or a lawsuit.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Court
If you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, you are not entitled to sue your employer for compensation following a work-related accident. However, if the collision was caused by a third-party outside of your work, then you can move forward with a legal claim against that person or business to recover compensation for your economic and non-economic injuries, whether or not you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
You should work with an experienced attorney to file a personal injury claim. You will have to prove that the other party was negligent, which means they did not uphold their duty toward you. If the other party was another driver, then they had a duty to obey the law and operate their vehicle safely, in such a way as to not put anyone else at danger. If they caused an accident, there may be evidence that they did not drive safely or within the rules of the road, and this carelessness or recklessness led to your injuries.
Our Attorneys Can Help
At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., we have significant experience in helping injured workers obtain workers’ compensation benefits or compensation through a personal injury claim. We have years of experience in a variety of industries, including construction, maritime, petrochemical, train and rail, trucking, and more.
We offer free consultations so that you can learn about your rights and legal options without any financial obligations. There is no risk in contacting us today. Call us at 281-283-8500 or use our online form to schedule an appointment.