An employee who is injured in a
car accident while driving a company car—or even his own car for company purposes—can
sometimes find himself in the confusing twilight zone of conflicting laws
and insurance companies. Here is a roadmap of how such a claim is handled.
First, always report any on the job injury to your employer or supervisor—in
writing, if possible. And keep a copy of any writing, note or other documentation
that you used to report the injury. Of course, any car accident that occurs
on the job will be reported, but sometimes you may not know right away
that you are injured. Report possible injuries from the car accident as
soon as you believe you may be having problems. This is true for any work
comp claim, but especially true for car accidents.
As with any
on the job injury, you have to be treated by the workers' comp doctors or clinic for
the on the job car accident. But this does not mean that you don't
tell the medical providers every time you see them what is going on with
you and any problems you are having with your recovery, or doing your
job—these notes will be later reviewed by the striking driver's
insurance company. Workers' comp must pay for all medical care that
is necessary for your injuries from the car accident. Sometimes these
medical providers will minimize auto injuries and you should be vigilant
in making sure your recovery is progressing and is not making you worse.
Sometimes, in order to save money, these medical providers will not want
to order diagnostic tests that may be needed to know what is going on
with your auto injury. You will have to be an involved participant in
your medical care to make sure you obtain all the necessary care to recover
from your auto injuries. If you are not getting the medical care you think
you need for your auto injuries, you should see an experienced workers'
compensation attorney, such as the attorneys at Clawson & Clawson LLP.
Meanwhile, the insurance company for the striking driver will be contacting
you to give them a release to access your medical information. Attorneys
at Clawson & Clawson LLP do not recommend giving permission to those
insurance companies to have access to your medical information, as there
is no limit on the information that can be obtained through that access.
(Of course, you must give permission to the workers' comp insurance
company to access all your information, or you won't receive your
Once you have recovered, or your injuries have stabilized, you are entitled
to a settlement with the striking driver's insurance. But resolving
car accident claim is not simple when there is work comp involved. One
big difference is that work comp gets paid back from the striking driver's
insurance for all that it paid for your auto injury: both medical expenses
and any TPD or TTD (temporary partial disability or temporary total disability)
benefits it paid to you or for your medical care. This can be a hefty
amount and, if you don't have a lawyer to help you, may leave you
with very little compensation from the striking driver's insurance.
An attorney can assist with the process of obtaining a fair settlement
from the striking driver' insurance, as well as negotiating with workers'
comp to take only an equitable amount of the available insurance from
the striking driver.
If the striking driver is not insured, or did not carry enough insurance,
there may be avenues of insurance payment beyond workers' comp through
your employer's auto insurance or through your own auto insurance.
This route can be complicated and is best pursued with experienced auto
accident and workers' compensation attorneys such as those at Clawson
& Clawson LLP.