Work Related Motor Vehicle and Truck Accident Injuries: Two Potential Claims

By: Attorney Sherri L. Warfel
Did you know that if you are involved in a motor vehicle or truck accident while at work you may be able to maintain two claims stemming from that one accident? An attorney can file a claim for you against your employer in Workers’ Compensation Court in order to obtain a settlement for any and all permanent injuries you may have sustained. Additionally, the law allows a second claim to be filed in Superior Court against any driver at fault for the accident for those same personal injuries. 

There are advantages to filing two separate claims. This firm has both workmen's compensation attorneys and personal injury attorneys that are experienced and can do it for you. First, both claims are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning the lawyers do not collect their fee unless they are successful in obtaining a recovery for you. Workers’ Compensation Court may have a schedule of compensation you can collect pursuant to your kind of injury and wages. The Superior Court places no number limitation on the amount of recovery you can receive for your injury. While your matter in Superior Court may take longer to litigate, your workmen’s compensation attorney can take steps to assure that during your lawsuit you are receiving lost wages and payment for your medical bills, until both matters are settled or resolve at trial. Plus, you have two lawyers and their staff monitoring your file. Finally, the obvious advantage is that you may receive multiple recoveries due to only one accident.

There are certain requirements to be able to file claims in two separate courts. One is that the car or truck accident must have occurred while you were in the course of your employment, not just driving to or from work. If it doesn’t, you still have the right to sue for your personal injuries in Superior Court of course. Secondly, if the car or truck accident is your fault or the fault of your co-employee, you cannot sue in the Superior Court only in Workers’ Compensation. To sue in Superior Court, your injury has to be the result of some outside or third party because you cannot sue your employer there. 

You should also be aware that, typically, in any car accident in which you are involved your car insurance is your primary insurance carrier and is first in line to pay your medical bills. However, when a motor vehicle accident occurs within the course of your employment, your workers’ compensation insurance carrier becomes primary. You must take the proper steps to insure medical coverage, and the lawyers here can help you navigate that process. Also, as an important aside, there are instances when you are involved in a truck accident outside the course of your employment wherein your motor vehicle insurance may not apply. This is because motor vehicle coverage, or PIP, only applies if you are driving in a private passenger automobile. If the truck accident occurs while you are at work, there is not an issue because workers’ compensation applies. However, if you are driving in a commercial vehicle outside the course of your employment, such as a taxicab or van for instance, you may not have the benefit of workers’ compensation or motor vehicle coverage. There are several options for coverage in that situation that the lawyers here know how to help you with.

Finally, it is not only car or truck accidents while at work that can give rise to two separate claims, but other kinds of accidents resulting in injury can as well. Things like trip or slip and falls while at work may give rise to two suits, and especially construction site accidents involving failure to provide fall protection and other OSHA violations allow for two suits. The lawyers at this firm have represented union members for years and specialize in representing workers injured while on construction sites in both Workers’ Compensation and Superior Courts. Contact us for more information about these law suits or if you have been injured while at work. 

The author Sherri Warful is a partner who concentrates her practice in the area of personal injury.  

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