Motor vehicle accidents occur all the time in California. Oftentimes, individuals who are involved in a car crash are commuting to and from work, traveling as part of their job, or using their vehicles during lunch and other breaks. When these accidents happen, they may be considered industrial accidents which may entitle an injured employee or worker to workers’ compensation benefits. The following are some frequently asked questions regarding motor vehicle accidents and workers’ compensation claims in California.
Q: If the motor vehicle accident occurred while the worker was traveling to or from work, can they file a workers’ compensation claim?
A: It depends. Typically, workers who suffer injuries in an accident that happens during the course of a local commute to a fixed place of business will be barred from recovery under California workers’ compensation laws. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. To determine whether your particular circumstances might warrant the filing of a workers’ compensation claim, it is important to consult with an experienced California Workers’ Compensation Lawyer.
Q: If the worker was driving a company car while they were involved in an accident, will they be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits?
A: Again, in this instance, entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. If the worker was acting within the scope of employment or performing job duties during the time of the accident, they might be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. In other words, if the use of the company vehicle was authorized by the employer, then workers’ compensation would likely come into play. However, if the worker was using the vehicle in an authorized manner, or commits a crime such as driving under the influence while operating the company vehicle, then a worker’s injuries as a result of an accident will likely not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Q: What if the accident is the fault of the injured worker? Will they be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim?
A: Even if the accident is the injured worker’s fault, they will likely be able to file a claim because workers’ compensation in California is considered a “no fault” system. The workers’ compensation benefits an injured worker might be entitled to can include medical treatment, temporary and/or permanent disability benefits, benefits for job displacement, and death benefits.
Q: If the worker is injured in an accident with a third party, can they pursue both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim at the same time?
A: Yes. It is possible to pursue both types of claims at the same time. However, it is important to note that there might be credits for recovery in one claim against the other. In addition, the facts and circumstances of the accident can dictate whether recovery is better under the workers’ compensation claim or the personal injury claim.
Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in California
If you or someone you know has been injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident, particularly if the accident happened in the Hemet, San Bernardino, or Inland Empire areas, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits under California’s workers’ compensation law. Albert E. Hirst, III, has extensive experience handling the workers’ compensation claims of injured workers and he has the resources and the knowledge that is necessary to help you obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Call our office today at (909) 885-7190 to schedule your free initial consultation and find out what we can do to help you.