Understand Your Compensation Options After A Work-Related Auto Accident
If you drive commercially or otherwise travel for work while “on the clock,” your job necessarily involves the risk of an auto accident. Many people don’t realize it, but an on-the-job car accident is usually considered a workplace injury and would therefore be compensable under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation program.
After suffering a workplace injury, many employees find it surprisingly difficult to claim the benefits they are entitled to. But the good news is that working with an experienced attorney can make the process much easier and, in many cases, more likely to result in a successful outcome. For Newark and East Orange residents, New Jersey, the firm to contact for help is Goldstein & Goldstein, LLP. Our attorneys bring more than 50 years of combined experience to each case, and we pride ourselves on offering personalized attention and outstanding client service.
When Are Work-Related Car Accidents Compensable?
If you are a commercial driver, basically any auto accident is compensable. This applies to workers such as:
- Truck drivers (local and long-haul transportation of goods and materials)
- Delivery drivers
- Shuttle drivers
- Bus, taxi and train drivers
You are also likely eligible if your job involves on-the-clock driving, even if that isn’t your primary responsibility. This includes workers like police officers, firefighters, emergency medical services workers and others.
Commuting Accidents Are Not Compensable, But Special Exceptions Exist
Under New Jersey workers’ compensation laws, an auto accident that occurs while commuting to or from work is generally not considered a workplace or work-related accident, and it is therefore noncompensable. This is referred to as the “going and coming” rule.
There are some notable exceptions, however. Your car accident may be compensable in the following situations:
- You were driving a company-owned vehicle (even off the clock)
- You were on a paid business trip
- You were running an errand requested by your supervisor (such as picking up donuts for a meeting on the way to the office)
- You were “on call” or otherwise working outside of your standard business hours
- The car accident occurred on your employer’s property (such as a rear-end accident in the parking lot of the building where you work)
Although these special exceptions to the coming and going rule are well-documented, your employer and the insurance company may attempt to contest your claim and deny you benefits. Our attorneys will advocate aggressively to protect your rights and to help you secure the compensation you deserve.
You May Also Be Able To File A Personal Injury Lawsuit
Because employers are offered broad immunity from liability in exchange for providing workers’ compensation benefits, it is all but impossible to sue your employer for an on-the-job injury. However, you can sue a negligent party other than your employer or a coworker of the same employer. This is known as a third-party liability lawsuit, and they are often possible after an on-the-job auto accident.
Say, for example, that you were struck and injured by a drunk driver while driving your daily delivery route. You could sue the drunk driver for personal injury in addition to seeking workers’ compensation benefits. This is advantageous because injury lawsuits can provide compensation for damages that are not covered by workers’ comp (such as pain and suffering). Our skilled attorneys can help you pursue worker’s comp benefits and a third-party liability claim, when appropriate.