If you are involved in an automobile accident while you are on the job, you may be unsure as to whether you should file a worker's comp claim with your employer or a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
Your auto accident attorney at Axelrod & Associates, P.A. can guide you through this process and help you to make the decision as to whether you should file one or both claims.
Auto Accidents on the Job
Most people think of personal injury claims and lawsuits when they hear auto accident. Although worker's comp and auto accident claims are two very different areas of law with different issues that must be proven and different types of damages that may be recovered, you may be able to file both types of claims if your auto accident happened while you were on the job.
Worker's compensation covers most on-the-job injuries if the employee was acting in the "course and scope" of their employment at the time that the injury was sustained. This applies to car wrecks when the accident occurs while the employee is driving the vehicle for a work-related purpose, such as:
· Driving a company vehicle.
· Running errands for the employer
· Transporting other employees.
· Driving jobs such as a delivery driver.
Workers ordinarily are not covered by worker's comp when they are driving to and from work, but there are many exceptions to this rule, such as when the employee is driving a company car, when the route to and from work is inherently dangerous, or when the wreck occurs near the workplace.
Worker's comp benefits are limited by South Carolina law and do not provide the same type of recovery that is available in a civil suit against the at-fault driver, but they do provide compensation for necessary medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages, and long-term disability benefits.
Why File Both Claims?
Worker's compensation claims are limited in the potential recovery. Worker's comp will not cover property damage to your vehicle. It will not compensate you for pain and suffering or other types of general damages. On the other hand, a civil claim against the at-fault driver may allow you to recover full compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering, and, in rare cases, the at-fault driver may also be subject to punitive damages. When you recover in the civil case, you may have to reimburse worker's compensation from the civil recovery although the amount may be negotiated by your attorney.
If you file both claims and you are not successful in your civil claim, you have not lost completely. Worker's compensation covers on-the-job injuries regardless of fault which means you do not have to prove negligence or causation. The comparative negligence rule, which could reduce your recovery in a civil suit, does not apply to worker's compensation claims.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident while on the job, call now and schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.