A very common occurrence that we assist people with in our practice is what to do when they are involved in a motor vehicle accident while working. Specifically, situations where the accident didn’t happen while going to and coming from work or at lunchtime, but it actually occurred while on the clock and while performing work duties. In these situations, the injured party has a choice between potential sources of recovery. If their employer has Workers’ Compensation insurance then they will likely be required to at least have an initial consultation with a Workers’ Compensation doctor to assess the extent of the injuries. In addition, most employers in the State of Florida require an initial drug test urine screen in order to establish the claim
A common misconception that occurs in these situations is that the injured party is under the impression that they are required and only have the option to treat under their Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, this is not the case if the injured party is not at fault in the crash and the at-fault party has Bodily Injury insurance coverage. In these situations, in addition to the potential workers’ compensation benefits available, the injured party can also make a claim against the at-fault party’s Bodily Injury insurance. This would provide the injured party two potential sources of recovery for their damages.
In addition the above sources of recovery, an injured party may have yet another avenue to recover for their losses. If the injured party, or the vehicle that they were in when the crash occurred, had Uninsured or Under-insured motorist coverage in their policy this may provide an additional remedy. This coverage would apply if the at-fault party did not have Bodily coverage on their car insurance or if their coverage was not enough to fully compensate the injured party for the full extent of their damages from the crash.
In addition to different potential sources of recovery, the injured party also has a choice of how they undergo medical treatment. The choice of whether to treat using their employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance, private health insurance or through the injured party’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance needs to be decided early on. This is an important decision that can affect the outcome of the claim and we recommend you consult with an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.
Another important fact is a term called subrogation. Specifically, if the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance or the injured party’s private health insurance, pay any benefits they would maintain a legal interest/lien in the outcome of the case against the at-fault party. The lien attaches if the injured party is able to recover from the at-fault third party. This would entitle the Workers’ Compensation or health insurance carrier the right to be paid back for what they paid. This is known as the insurance company’s right of subrogation. This right of subrogation only applies to the recovery made from the at fault third party’s insurance, it does not apply to any recovery the injured party may collect from any Uninsured or Under-Insured motorist coverage available.
Once the Workers’ Compensation carrier has made payments, they will place the injured party on notice of these payments and their right of subrogation by providing an itemized sheet evidencing all payments made. This workers compensation lien can be used as evidence of actual damages to be able to potentially recover more from the at-fault third party’s insurance.
Understanding these laws and being able to navigate the different options available can be very confusing and frustrating, if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident while at work, call us a Freeman Injury Law to have a completely free consultation with one of our attorneys. We can assist with both the Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury cases and help you make these important decisions
Freeman Injury Law