Car accidents are always confusing, and especially in the no-fault state of Kentucky. When an accident occurs at work however, the complexities of a case become emphasized.
Should you file a workers’ compensation claim, or is a personal injury claim more appropriate? Can you pursue both? This is a common question and often, one that is difficult to answer.
If you have been in a car accident at work and are now suffering from serious injuries, a Kentucky car accident attorney can help determine who was at fault, and which type of claim you should file.
Your Legal Options After a Car Accident at Work
When you are involved in a car accident while at work, you have two options. You can file a workers’ compensation claim, and you may also be able to pursue a separate personal injury claim if someone else was at fault for the crash.
If you were at fault for the crash or your employer, a co-worker, or someone else that had a connection to your employer was at fault, you would be limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
The workers’ compensation system in Kentucky is a no-fault system. That means that the accident and resulting injuries must have occurred while you were performing duties within the scope of your employment. However, it does not matter who was at fault for the crash.
When the person to blame for the accident was not connected to your employer, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. For example, if you work as a delivery driver, you may get into an accident with another driver on the road. The other driver is likely not your co-worker and does not have a connection to your employer. As such, if you are seriously injured, you could file a personal injury claim against that driver.
Many people think that because Kentucky is a no-fault auto insurance state, they can never file a lawsuit directly against another driver. This is untrue. Many drivers must go through their own insurance company to collect accident benefits after a crash under the no-fault system.
However, there are certain thresholds that allow individuals to file a claim against the at-fault driver insurance coverage. These thresholds include when the compensation provided exceeds your own personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, you have suffered serious injury, or a family member was killed as a result of the crash.
Car Accident Benefits Through Workers’ Comp
Through a workers’ compensation claim, workers who are hurt on the job can receive benefits to cover medical expenses, partial replacement of lost income, compensation if you have suffered from a permanent disability, and vocational retraining, if necessary.
Medical expenses covered under workers’ compensation include all costs that are reasonably related to the treatment of the injury. These can include bills from doctors and chiropractors, prescription expenses, hospital bills, tests, and medical equipment. Employees are not responsible to make co-payments or pay for deductibles under Kentucky’s workers’ compensation system.
Car Crash Compensation Through a Personal Injury Claim
If you do not meet the threshold requirements in Kentucky for a car accident claim and must file a claim with your own insurance company, you could receive up to $10,000 per person for medical expenses, lost income, and other economic, or out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a result of the accident.
However, when you file a personal injury claim against the other driver involved in an accident, you could receive compensation for both economic and non-economic losses. Non-economic losses are any losses that don’t have a dollar value. These losses can include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of household services, loss of comfort and guidance, and more.
What to Do After a Work-Related Car Accident in Kentucky
After a car accident that occurred while you were at work, the immediate first steps are similar to those after any other car crash.
You must seek medical attention right away for your injuries. If possible, you must also remain on the scene and exchange information with the other drivers involved in the crash. You should also call police out to the scene so they can investigate the crash and gather information.
Even if you were driving a work vehicle and not your own car, you must still exchange information with the other drivers. This information includes name, contact information, and insurance information. You should also supply your employer’s name and insurance information. As with any other accident, it’s also important to refrain from admitting fault or confronting the other drivers about the crash. Even a simple “I’m sorry this happened” could be taken out of context and twisted into an admission of fault.
As soon as possible after the accident, you should also notify your employer right away. You may have to file a workers’ compensation claim and there may be damage to the company vehicle. In either case, your employer will need to know about this as soon as possible.
You should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. A Kentucky workplace car accident lawyer can review your case, advise on which type of claim or claims you should file, and help you every step of the way, whether your file for workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim.
Talk to a Lawyer Now About Your Car Accident at Work
Car accidents are always confusing, but perhaps never more so than when they happen while you are at work.
At Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer, our Kentucky car accident lawyers can help. We’ll determine which type of claim is right for your case and help with every detail while you focus on your recovery.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident at work, contact us today for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We have the Kentucky Courage necessary to seek the compensation you deserve, and we want to put our experience to work for you.