Can I get workers' comp benefits if I was injured in a car accident?
Not all workplace injuries happen on the construction site or warehouse floor. When discussing what actions you should take after a car accident, personal injury law is usually the first thing that comes to mind.
Workers' compensation applies to car accidents in some cases, however. At Tabor Law Firm, P.A., we represent workers who were injured in transportation incidents while on the job. Workers who drive for a living often encounter distracted drivers, speeders and drunk drivers. These include bus drivers, cab drivers, couriers, DOT workers, roadside construction workers and delivery drivers.
Car accidents don't only apply to workers who drive for a living, however. For instance, workers often sustain injuries while traveling for work-related purposes (not including commuting), such as when traveling to company events. As long as your car accident happened within the scope of your employment, then you likely qualify for workers' compensation benefits.
Workers' compensation vs. personal injury claims after a car accident
There is a significant difference between pursuing a workers' compensation claim and a personal injury claim for a car accident. First, it's worth noting that you don't have to prove the negligence of another party when filing a workers' compensation claim. That's because workers' compensation in Mississippi is a no-fault system. When you file a car accident personal injury claim, you must prove that the driver who hit you was at fault. In addition to a workers' compensation claim, you can also file a third-party workplace injury claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company. Third-party workplace injury claims apply to accidents caused by third parties (someone other than your employer or a fellow employee).
You only have to prove two things in a workers' compensation case:
The car accident happened while you were on the job
Proving that you were involved in a car accident within the scope of your employment isn't that difficult. It would most likely be confirmed by the official car accident report documented by police. You can get a copy of your car accident report online at the Mississippi Department of Public Safety website. An attorney can also get a copy for you. It's important that you notify your employer as soon as possible, so you and your employer have a record of the incident.
You sustained legitimate injuries
It's easy for insurance companies to downplay your injuries. That's why you should see a doctor promptly and get an official diagnosis. Let your doctor know that you sustained an injury in a car accident while on the job. Also, be sure to obtain proof of any treatment you're receiving or recommendations from your doctor.
Types of benefits you may obtain after a work-related car accident
Workers' compensation in Mississippi pays for the following:
- All reasonable current and future medical expenses
- Temporary total disability - two-thirds of your average weekly wages prior to the car accident
- Temporary partial disability - two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wage prior to the car accident and your current wages (if you took a lower-paying job with modified duties)
- Permanent disability benefits - the amount depends on the degree of disability (permanent partial disability or permanent total disability)
- Death benefits - benefits paid to the surviving spouse or children of a worker killed in a workplace accident
If your car accident was caused by a negligent third party, you may be able to pursue additional damages not covered by workers' compensation. These include:
- Additional weekly wages not paid for by workers' compensation
- Additional medical expenses
- Property damage or loss of property
- Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering
Hire an experienced Mississippi attorney who can help sort your case out
The aftermath of a work-related car accident can be very confusing. If you attempt to handle your case alone, the insurance companies will likely take advantage of you to protect their bottom line. The attorneys at Tabor Law Firm, P.A. would be glad to sit down with you and help you explore all of your legal options during a free consultation.
Our law offices are located in Ridgeland and Jackson, MS. Contact us online or call us to find out how we can help you.