If you drive as part of your job, you know that it leaves you vulnerable to car accidents that cause serious personal injuries. What happens to employees who are on the road for work and get into a serious crash that results in debilitating injuries? Will such an employee be able to file a workers’ compensation claim? Can that same employee also file a car accident lawsuit?
These questions can have complicated answers, but it is important to know that you may receive workers’ compensation benefits – regardless of fault – and you may also receive financial compensation through a car accident lawsuit if someone else was to blame.
How Workers’ Comp Claims Handle Car Crashes
In North Carolina, the Workers’ Compensation Act governs workers’ compensation law. Generally speaking, in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for injuries in a car crash, driving must have been part of your job. Simply commuting to or from work when the accident happens will not usually result in a successful workers’ comp claim. Additionally, an accident that happens during a break from work to run a personal errand – even if it is during your regular work hours – typically would not be covered by workers’ compensation.
What does it mean for driving to be part of your job? In short, under North Carolina law, if your job requires you to travel to and from places during work, then any accident that happens while you are driving within the course of your employment likely will be covered by workers’ comp. For example, the following jobs in North Carolina often require driving as a part of the employment:
- Bus drivers
- Truck drivers
- Taxi drivers
- Delivery drivers
- Repair and maintenance workers
- Police officers and fire fighters
The Possibility of a Car Accident Lawsuit and a Workers’ Comp Claim
Generally speaking, you may be eligible to file a car accident lawsuit for your injuries even if you receive workers’ compensation benefits. You should keep in mind that workers’ comp benefits typically cover only your medical bills and part of your lost wages. What damages could a car accident lawsuit provide? For example, by filing an auto accident lawsuit, you may be able to seek compensation for the following:
- Property damage
- Non-economic damages from the accident, such as pain and suffering
- Compensation for all lost wages, including future lost wages
Filing both a workers’ comp claim and a car accident lawsuit could result in additional compensation for the injured worker. If the injured employee wins a car accident claim, she or he could receive money to pay for damage to the car and compensation for non-economic losses. However, the issue of fault would come into play in a car accident claim. While you can be “at fault” for an accident and still receive workers’ compensation benefits, you will need to prove that another party was responsible for the crash in order to receive compensation through an auto accident lawsuit.
Contact a North Carolina Auto Accident Attorney
An experienced car accident lawyer in North Carolina can discuss the specific details of your case with you and can help you to seek compensation for your injuries from all available sources. Contact Riddle & Brantley, LLP today for a free claim evaluation and advice about your legal options.