Workers’ Compensation and No-Fault Ramifications When you are Involved in an Automobile Accident while in the Course of Your Employment
If you sustained an injury in a car accident while performing your job duties, do not hesitate to contact the New York work-related injury lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP. You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to cover a portion of your lost wages and all necessary medical treatment.
Some jobs require travel. Driving is necessary when you deliver products to a warehouse, run errands for your boss, or perform services at someone’s home. Unfortunately, car crashes are common and can leave you injured and unable to return to work. When that happens, you could file a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier.
However, when on-the-job injuries happen in motor vehicle accidents, you might also be able to pursue compensation from a no-fault insurance claim. The available coverage depends on the auto insurance policy limits and state law. Typically, workers’ compensation is the primary form of insurance. You could also pursue a settlement from your auto insurance company but might have to pay back the workers’ compensation carrier with the proceeds you receive.
The complexities of workers’ compensation and no-fault laws mean that you’ll be more successful in obtaining the money you need if you have legal assistance. You should not attempt to handle your claim without consulting Hach & Rose, LLP. We have represented injured workers in New York for over two decades. Our workers’ compensation lawyers know how to navigate the complicated process of pursuing workers’ compensation benefits and compensation through no-fault insurance. You can count on our team to provide the guidance and support you need to get through this challenging time in your life.
For a free consultation to learn more about what Hach & Rose, LLP can do for you, call us at (212) 779-0057 today for your free case review.
Determining Whether You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Determining whether you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits can be confusing, especially if your job requires driving a vehicle. Generally, any person injured at work is entitled to coverage through their employer’s workers’ compensation policy. That includes employees who drive for a living or operate a vehicle to perform occupational tasks.
Injured workers can apply for workers’ compensation benefits under certain circumstances, such as:
- Running an errand necessary for the company, such as picking up office supplies
- Driving a commercial vehicle while on the clock
- Delivering goods or services to customers
- Driving an employee to a job site
- Traveling for work, such as a salesperson without a permanent office
Situations that prohibit employees from receiving benefits through a workers’ compensation claim include:
- Driving to a restaurant during a lunch break
- Causing an accident due to intoxication or negligence
- Breaking company policy at the time of the crash
- Being injured while commuting to or from work unless employment covers commute time
- Breaking a traffic law while operating a vehicle
Hach & Rose, LLP will review your case and determine whether you qualify for workers’ compensation coverage.
Benefits Available for Workplace Auto Accidents
Two benefits are available through workers’ compensation insurance – healthcare and lost wages.
As an injured employee, you will receive coverage for all necessary medical expenses, such as:
- Medically necessary medications
- Assistive devices
You must seek treatment from a doctor approved by the Workers’ Compensation Board to receive medical benefits. If you see a medical provider that isn’t on the approved list, you will likely pay for those costs out of your own pocket.
Lost Wage Benefits
Lost wage benefits replace a portion of an employee’s wages due to a workplace injury. The amount and duration of your benefit payments will depend on the type and severity of the injury you sustained in the car accident. Four main types of lost wage benefits are available.
Temporary Partial Disability
You qualify for temporary partial disability benefits if you can’t work for longer than seven days or return to your job but don’t earn your regular income due to the job-related injury. Your payments will depend on your average weekly wage for the year before the accident and the percentage of disability your doctor assigns your injury.
If you can’t work, payments are two-thirds of your average weekly wage multiplied by your disability rating. A disability rating is a percentage a medical provider gives patients to indicate how much the injury affects their abilities. Employees who can return to work but at a reduced functional capacity receive benefit payments at two-thirds the difference between their average weekly wage before and after the injury.
Temporary Total Disability
If the accident caused a total disability, but only temporarily, you are eligible for temporary total disability benefits. That means you have a 100% disability rating from your medical provider. Payments are two-thirds of your average weekly wages before the accident.
Permanent Partial Disability
Benefit payments for a permanent partial disability depend on the injured body part and degree of permanency. Three types of permanent partial disability benefits are available:
- Scheduled loss of use award – Payments are two-thirds of the average weekly wage earned before the injury multiplied by the number of weeks of your loss percentage according to the injury’s schedule. The schedule indicates the degree of functional impairment of the affected body part.
- Nonscheduled award – A permanent disability to an organ, the head, the spine, or another body part not on the scheduled loss of use list is eligible for this benefit. Payments are two-thirds the difference between the pre and post-accident average weekly wage multiplied by the number of weeks of your percentage of impairment based on an arbitrary number of weeks.
- Disfigurement – If an injury causes permanent and serious disfigurement to your head, neck, or face, you could receive cash benefits of up to $20,000.
Permanent Total Disability
Once the injury stabilizes and the employee reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI), you could be eligible for permanent total disability benefits. MMI means further medical treatment isn’t likely to improve a person’s condition. Your doctor will evaluate you and determine whether you can maintain employment despite your injury.
If you can’t perform any work, you can collect permanent total disability benefits. Payments are two-thirds of your average weekly wage. Benefits will continue as long as you have a 100 percent disability.
Impact of No-Fault Laws on Workers’ Compensation Eligibility
Although you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you could face challenges pursuing compensation through your auto insurance carrier. Since workers’ compensation is primary, no-fault insurance becomes secondary coverage. That means your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier will pay your lost wages and medical expenses first.
However, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover all lost income. Additionally, workers’ compensation doesn’t pay for things like personal property damage. You might want to file a supplemental no-fault claim but could encounter obstacles.
State law requires every driver to purchase Personal injury protection (PIP). It covers costs such as:
- 80% of lost wages up to $2,000 monthly for up to three years after the crash
- Reasonable and necessary medical treatment
- Reimbursement of reasonable and necessary expenses up to $25 a day
- $2,000 in death benefits paid to the estate for surviving family
In a PIP claim, you could recover compensation to compensate for losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
If you want to file a PIP claim, you must obtain consent from the workers’ compensation insurer because the law does not allow double recovery. You could be on the hook for repayment to the workers’ comp carrier of part of the compensation you receive from your auto insurance company.
Hach & Rose, LLP has fought for accident victims for 20 years. Our workers’ compensation lawyers in New York know your struggles while pursuing benefits for your injury. It’s critical to contact us immediately following the car crash to ensure that you recover the maximum benefits available.
If you were injured in a job-related auto accident, call Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 for your free consultation.