An injury occurred while I was driving for work. Now what?
If you are a professional driver who suffers an injury on the job, you may have two sources of compensation: workers’ compensation benefits and a third-party injury claim. It is important to understand your rights so you can recover the maximum amount the law allows.
How are workers’ comp and third-party claims different?
Workers’ compensation is an injured employee’s sole remedy for claims against their employer. This typically means that workers cannot directly sue their employers for the injury. In New York, workers’ comp is a no-fault system, meaning that whether the employer or worker or both were responsible for the injury, the worker is entitled to benefits.
If a negligent third party is involved in the accident, workers may bring a personal injury suit against that party. These cases are called third-party negligence claims. If you drive for work, a negligent third party may be the driver of the vehicle that caused your accident. It could also be the manufacturer of defective vehicle parts or the municipality that fails to maintain safe roads.
Workers’ comp benefits cover your medical expenses, a portion of your lost wages and, in some cases, compensation for the permanent loss of use of a body part. You will not, however, receive compensation for all of your lost wages or for pain and suffering.
Workers seek damages for these losses by filing a third-party personal injury suit. In many serious work injury cases, workers and their families need third-party damages to cover all of their losses. If a workers’ comp lawyer reviews your case, he or she will tell you whether you can file a third-party suit.
Work-related driving and pedestrian accidents
Numerous jobs involve driving as all or part of their duties, including:
- Truck driving
- Delivery driving
- Operating garbage trucks
- Driving a cab or limousine
- Ambulance driving
- Police work
- Bus and shuttle driving
People in these jobs can suffer injuries while driving. They may also be hit by another car when they are out of their vehicle. In either case, workers’ compensation and a third-party lawsuit may be possible.