A tremendous number of occupations require workers to regularly operate everything from a company car or delivery vehicle to larger automobiles, like dump trucks and cranes.
What happens when you’re in a wreck while driving a work vehicle?
You have a right to workers’ compensation if hurt on company time
Believe it or not, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of worker deaths in this country — and that means that many more workers are left injured after such wrecks. Whether you make deliveries for your employer’s bakery or you drive a forklift at a construction site, the odds are high that you may one day be in a crash while driving the company vehicle.
Generally speaking, if a wreck happens on company time (or while you’re doing something that benefits your employer, like dropping off keys or making a coffee run), you’re entitled to workers’ compensation. Since workers’ comp is a no-fault system, this is true even if you somehow caused the crash.
You may have a third-party claim if the crash wasn’t your fault
Other drivers are often responsible for wrecks with company vehicles. For example, construction sites near busy roads are often plagued by drivers who won’t slow down or take extra precautions as they pass by — and that often leads to avoidable crashes.
If another driver caused the crash that injured you, then you may be entitled to pursue a third-party claim against that motorist. A third-party claim is a personal injury claim that operates outside of the workers’ comp system.
When you’re seriously injured, third-party claims can provide the additional income and benefits you need for your recovery. In addition, unlike workers’ comp, personal injury claims allow you to collect for considerable pain and suffering you had to endure after your wreck.
After a serious accident, the only real way to protect your interests is to make sure that you fully explore the possibilities for compensation for your losses.