Thousands of car accidents occur every day in the United States. More than 37,000 fatalities happen annually with an additional 2.35 million injuries. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel or ASIRT, 1,600 f those roadway deaths are children under the age of 15 years and about 8,000 fatality crashes involve drivers ranging in age from 16 to 20-years old. California’s roads are notoriously dangerous with so many private vehicles sharing the roads with commercial cars, trucks, vans, and so on. So, if you are working and involved in an auto accident while on-the-job, what happens?
What Happens when You are Working and are Involved in an Auto Accident?
In the Golden State of California, if you are involved in a car collision while working, you have a right to file for a worker’s compensation injury and a civil claim, as well. However, you must not be at-fault. But, you should know that even if it wasn’t your fault, your case might not be as straightforward. California law follows a legal doctrine known as “comparative negligence.” This means a percentage of fault or blame is assigned to each party involved in an accident.
If you or someone you know were recently involved in a car accident, you are likely feeling frustrated and anxious. It doesn’t matter whether it was your fault or not. You certainly weren’t planning on any of this happening, and now you have to deal with the consequences. For what it’s worth, you’re not alone. More than 5 million auto accidents happen in the United States each year. Even if there were no major injuries resulting from your accident, being involved in a collision can disrupt your routine. It can also cost you time and money. —Carfax.com
But it gets a little more complicated and if you were involved in an accident while working and therefore it is very important to speak with an experienced attorney. If you were working at the time of the accident and the collision was not your fault, generally, you can file both a worker’s compensation claim and sue the at-fault driver in civil court. So, what does it mean to be at work? Some examples of being on-the-job are: running an errand for your employer, making deliveries, and giving a coworker a ride. Other examples include if you drive as part or all of your job, and/or don’t have a dedicated office. Other factors include if you are paid for commute time back and forth from your home to work. Of course, filing a worker’s compensation claim and a civil claim depends on the circumstances of the accident. You must not be at fault for the crash and it must be proven that you were working and on-the-job when the accident occurred.
Worker’s Compensation Claims versus Civil Claims
When you are involved in a car accident while you are working, you can file a worker’s compensation claim against your employer and file a civil claim against the other driver and/or his or her insurance company. Generally, employees injured in a car crash while on-the-job file both. The reason is simple — each claim entitles you to different types of compensation. In a worker’s compensation claim, you receive payment for your medical bills, as well as your lost wages. But, any damage to your vehicle and your own pain and suffering are not covered under a worker’s compensation claim. It’s in your best interest to file separate, civil claim; to receive compensation for any damage to your car and for pain and suffering from injuries sustained as a result of the accident. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, be sure to seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t feel injured. It is critical you speak with any experienced lawyer to discuss your case to and to learn if you might be entitled to compensation. Contact Vititoe Law Group today for your free case evaluation.