You were hurt in a horrific car crash. You think that you were hurt in the course of your employment and that workers’ compensation should pay for your injuries, but your employer and the workers’ comp insurance company disagree. Who is right? When are auto accident injuries covered by workers’ compensation, what can you receive in workers’ comp benefits, and how can you make sure your rights are protected?
Auto Accident Injuries Must Be Work Related
You can only recover workers’ compensation benefits for your car crash injuries if you were in the car for work-related purposes at the time of the accident.
In most cases, commuting to and from work does not count as a work-related purpose and you will not have a valid workers’ compensation claim if you are hurt in a crash on your way to work or after you have left work for the day. There are exceptions to this general rule, however. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you were hurt during your commute and:
- You were hurt on your employer’s premises.
- You were hurt in a parking facility owned by your employer.
- You were traveling home after an off-site meeting or work event.
- You were hurt in a vehicle that was owned by your employer.
- Your employer pays you for your commuting time.
- You do not have a fixed office and you begin work as soon as you leave your home.
Additionally, there are many situations where you may be in your car for a work-related reason during your working hours. Some examples of these situations include being a driver or a passenger:
- On the way to or from a meeting.
- On the way to or from a work-related errand.
- Making a delivery.
If you are hurt in any of these situations—or in any other situation where you were in the car for work-related reasons, then you may be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim if you suffered an injury that kept you out of work. Some common car accident injuries include:
- Broken bones.
- Internal injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Muscle or ligament injuries.
Any one of these injuries will result in medical expenses and likely in time off of work.
Workers’ Comp Benefits for Work-Related Car Crash Injuries
Once it has been determined that you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits because you were hurt in a car crash during the course of your employment, then you will need to know what kinds of benefits you may recover. In Massachusetts, workers’ compensation benefits may include compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Vocational rehabilitation services
- Loss of bodily function or disfigurement
While all of your medical costs should be covered, the amount of other compensation that you receive depends on the unique injuries that you’ve suffered.
Workers’ compensation will not compensate you in the same way that a personal injury lawsuit would after a car crash. For example, you cannot recover for your pain and suffering by making a workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, you may be able to pursue a personal injury case and file a workers’ compensation claim.
How to Get the Workers’ Comp Benefits You Deserve
Whether or not you have a potential third-party personal injury case, it is important to talk with a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand whether you have claim and help you fight for the fair and just benefits that you’ve earned.
Your time for notifying your employer of your injury is limited. If you wait too long, then you may be unable to get workers’ compensation benefits that you might have otherwise been able to receive. Accordingly, our workers’ compensation lawyers encourage you to contact your employer as soon as possible and to call us to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation about your rights and about how to protect your potential workers’ compensation benefits today.