Injured in a car crash while on the job and unsure of what to do next? An employee who is injured in a car accident while driving a company car—or even their own car for company purposes—can sometimes find themselves 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. 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, 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.
Meanwhile, the insurance company for the striking driver will be contacting you to give them a release to access your medical information. Our 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 medical care.)
Once you have recovered, or your injuries have stabilized, you are entitled to a settlement with the striking driver's insurance. But resolving a 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's 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.
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. Call us today at (719) 602-5888 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation, or reach out to us online.