The video above addresses a common question:  What do I file? Car accident or Job Injury?  This is a tricky situation that brings in two areas of complex sets of law.  The laws of worker’s compensation and the area of personal injury law.  The following are common scenarios that we see on a regular basis to help explain some of these issues.

Scenario 1

While an employee is at work, she is involved in an auto accident.   She was on company time.  She was in the company vehicle.   She wants to know:   Are car accidents covered by worker’s comp?  Specifically she wants to know if her auto accident will be covered under the worker’s comp or does she need to file with her insurance company.   Here question is: “What do I file? Car accident or Job Injury”?

What should she do?  

  • Call the police so they can do a report.
  • Get any medical attention that is necessary.  If she is seriously injured, allow them to transport her to the closest medical facility.
  • Report the accident to her employer including any medical treatment that was necessary, which police where called for a copy of the report and provide any documentation provided by the hospital and police to the employer.
  • Keep a copy  of ALL medical and police documentation for herself.
  • At this point, she may want to contact an experienced worker’s comp lawyer.  This is a fact specific situation and an attorney can best guide her in this area of expertise.

Scenario 2

The employee is at work but in her own vehicle and in an auto accident.  Again, she wants to know:  What do I file? Car accident or job injury?  Here, we have some questions we need to ask.

  • Was she acting in the scope of her duties?
  • Was she at fault or doing anything illegal or wrong

What should she do? .

  • Call the police so they can do a report. This will be necessary for the insurance companies.
  • Get any medical attention that is necessary.  If she is seriously injured, allow them to transport her to the closest medical facility.
  • Report the accident to her employer including any medical treatment that was necessary.
  • Keep a copy of ALL medical and police documentation for herself.
  • At this point, she may want to contact an experienced worker’s comp AND personal injury lawyer.  This is a fact specific situation and an attorney can best guide her in this area of expertise as this is going to be a complex case.  This will result in two claims; one of worker’s comp with her employer and one with an auto insurance company for the car accident.  

As you can see in Scenario 2, there will likely be more than one claim.  They have a worker’s compensation claim and they have a personal injury claim. And the question we often get is, “Which one do I use or set up and move with first? What is the priority of the two claims?”

That is a very personal decision. However, the benefits that you’re allowed under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act, allows medical care for your injuries. And then if you’re taken out of work or put on light duty work and your employer is not able to accommodate your light duty, you may then be entitled to weekly income benefits. Whereas on a personal injury side of things, you are obtaining Medical Care on your own and coming out of pocket unless the medical provider is working with you.

Worker’s comp and personal injury claims work very differently regarding how your injuries are treated.  They are also very different on lost wages and your job.  What we like to do is set up the workers compensation claim, get the injuries taken care of by medical providers, which is paid for by workers compensation.  Then, if you qualify for income benefits, we certainly look at obtaining those benefits. Getting you back to where you were, hopefully prior to the motor vehicle collision is the goal.  We also want to consider your auto insurance because we don’t want to put a claim against you if it’s not necessary, potentially increasing your insurance payments at any time in the future.  All of this is taken into what lawyers like to call “the big picture”.

Now, there is a possibility that worker’s compensation will say, “Hey we want to be paid back.”– this is called subrogation. Simply put, subrogation is when one insurance company seeks payment from another.  It is complex and tricky.  Without a doubt, you want to have an attorney involved in subrogation claims. You do not want to be the one in the middle of this.

As you can see, the answer to: What do I file? Car accident or Job Injury,  can be complex as there are a lot of moving factors and it’s really very specific to your situation, your employer and your accident.

If you have a specific question about the overlap between a worker’s comp and car accident, contact us.