Auto Accident Attorneys in California
If you are in an auto accident while performing work duties, and are not at fault for the collision, you may be able to pursue a third-party personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. Personal injury lawsuits differ from workers’ compensation claims in that the injury victim can pursue financial compensation for pain and suffering from the negligent party. Also, pursuing a personal injury claim does not mean you can’t pursue a workers’ compensation claim; you can do both.
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Auto Accidents vs. Work Injuries
Personal injury law is very different from workers’ compensation law. When an auto accident occurs, the person who caused the crash, and his or her insurance company, is responsible for the damages caused to anyone else involved. Those damages can include property damage, medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Victims can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. When a work injury occurs, no blame is assigned. Regardless of who or what caused the injury, injured workers can receive medical treatment and disability benefits, but are not eligible for compensation for pain and suffering and cannot file a lawsuit against their employer.
When an Auto Accident Results in a Work Injury
Not every motor vehicle crash is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you are driving while “on the clock” or performing work duties, you are likely eligible for benefits, regardless of who is at fault for the crash. More specifically, driving to or from work does not typically qualify the worker for benefits. Similarly, not every auto accident results in a good personal injury claim. The vast majority of personal injury claims will require the injury victim to not be at fault for the collision, to have suffered at least moderate injuries, and is contingent on insurance coverage. When the circumstances for both a workers’ compensation claim and personal injury lawsuit are valid, a third-party liability personal injury claim can be pursued alongside a work injury claim.
Pursuing Simultaneous Claims
Pursuing both types of claims simultaneously has one goal: maximizing the amount of compensation received for an injured worker. That said, it’s important to note that claim values do not stack. If you receive $10,000 in workers’ compensation benefits and later receive $15,000 in a personal injury claim for the same incident, you will likely not receive a total of $25,000 in compensation. After a third-party liability claim is settled, the workers’ compensation insurance company will seek reimbursement for benefits they have paid out after the work injury, a process known as subrogation. Typically, those benefits would include medical bills. As personal injury claims typically result in higher compensation, pursuing possible third-party liability claims is recommended for injured workers.
Auto Accident and Work Injury Law Firm
The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has been helping injured workers and the victims of auto accidents pursue financial compensation for decades. If you have a work injury, our attorneys can help you pursue a workers’ compensation claim and quickly receive medical treatment. If your work injury was the result of a negligent third party in an auto accident, our attorneys can also help you pursue third-party liability personal injury litigation.