What happens if I get into a car accident while on the job?

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With the frequency of car accidents, it’s not surprising that some of those collisions would involve people who are working. And if unfortunately, you’re one of them, you might be worried about what happens when you get into a car accident while on the job.

A quick response to this question is that many North Carolinians that are injured in a car accident while working are eligible for workers’ compensation regardless of fault, as long as the injury happened during the course of employment. This is a general assumption. For more specific information about your unique circumstances, you should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney like one of our Tatum & Atkinson lawyers who deal with this issue and related ones all of the time.

Unlike a regular car accident where being at fault can prevent you from recovering compensation in NC, your work-related crash is covered by workers’ compensation, where fault won’t be a bar to collecting. Even so, it may not necessarily be smooth sailing on the way to getting the benefits. What’s next after being involved in a car accident while you’re working will depend on a few things.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor

If you’re an employee for a North Carolina company with at least three full-time employees, then workers’ comp benefits are usually available, and you can first file a claim for this. These funds can help you pay your costly medical bills, make up for your lost wages, and can generally assist you with getting to a better place after suffering injuries in the accident.

 However, if you’re an independent contractor, (including those working gig-type roles such as Lyft/Uber), then the company is probably not responsible for your injuries, and you won’t be eligible for these benefits. Check with an attorney for exceptions to this.

What to Do to Get Compensation

If you’re in a car accident in a work-issued vehicle or while working, you obviously want to tell your employer right away. After the report, they may ask you to see one of their approved physicians to be tested for alcohol and drugs. It’s important to follow directives so as not to provide any reason for the denial of your claim since alcohol and/or drug use are one of the few exceptions that prevent you from receiving workers’ comp benefits.

In some cases, filing a workers’ compensation claim doesn’t prevent you from receiving other compensation; you can also file a claim or lawsuit with the car insurance company after the accident. This means that when you’re hurt in a car accident while on the clock, you may have two separate claims, one for workers’ compensation (filed with a workers’ comp carrier) and one for personal injury, which involves the car insurer.

With either or both claims, there could be difficulty receiving compensation. Frequently, the insurance company and even your own employer try to get out of paying you. That’s when an experienced attorney can assist you with going after the money that you need and are entitled to receive.

 Get Help with Compensation After Your Work-Related Car Accident

Just like any car accident that results in injury, you want to be able to receive the compensation you deserve after you’re hurt in a work-related accident. The lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson understand this and are well-versed in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. We have fought hard for our clients and will do the same for you. Contact us right away for a free consultation to learn more.