Usually when you hear about legal cases involving car accidents, those are personal injury cases.
That’s an entirely different area of the law than claims for injured workers.
So what if you’re hurt in a car accident in the course of doing your job?
Could you get workers’ compensation benefits for that?
Yes, you can.
But it’s important to understand how your job injury case is different from a personal injury case. The type of case you have determines what you need to prove—and what you don’t need to prove—to get maximum compensation.
The Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyers at Workers’ Compensation, LLC have helped thousands of people win millions in workers’ comp settlements.
We focus specifically on workers’ comp cases. In fact, our credo is Workers’ Comp Is What We Do.
So if your injury happened at work, you’ll want to talk to us, not a car accident lawyer who does personal injury cases.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the difference, and the basics you need to apply for workers’ comp in Louisiana after a car accident.
The idea behind workers’ compensation benefits is that they provide fast financial relief to workers after an accident and injury on the job. And in exchange for that, workers’ can’t sue their employers over their injury.
When it works at its best, Louisiana workers’ comp helps employees take care of their injuries and themselves while protecting companies from expensive lawsuits over breakdowns in the workplace.
Because of this structure, there is no such thing as fault—or negligence—in a workers’ comp claim.
It doesn’t matter why the accident happened. It only matters that it happened on the job.
Filing for workers’ comp doesn’t mean you’re suing your employer. It doesn’t mean you’re accusing your employer of wrongdoing that led to your accident.
How you or anyone else behaved leading up to your accident generally only makes a difference in extreme situations.
If you intended to hurt yourself, you were intoxicated, you were the aggressor in a fight, or you were engaging in reckless “horseplay,”
Otherwise, if you got hurt while working, you get paid. That’s it.
A personal injury claim after a car accident, however, centers on negligence.
That kind of case is about proving that you were injured because of the actions, inaction, recklessness or irresponsibility of someone else.
It’s an entirely different legal question.
And different court systems handle each type of case.
Workers’ compensation has its own workers’ comp courts and workers’ comp judges.
Personal injury claims generally go through regular state courts—the types of places most people probably think about when they think about “courts.”
This is more reason why you want to work with a dedicated Louisiana workers’ comp lawyer for a workers’ comp case. They’ll know how to navigate the laws, courts and system set up specifically for workers’ comp.
An accident is defined by the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act as, “an unexpected or unforeseen actual, identifiable, precipitous event happening suddenly or violently, with or without human fault, and directly producing at the time objective findings of an injury which is more than simply a gradual deterioration or progressive degeneration.”
It continues, “The event causing the injury must arise out of and be within the course and scope of the employee’s employment.”
So for car accidents, like any job accidents, to qualify for workers’ comp, you must prove:
Any scenario where you’re driving as part of your job could count, including:
For some people who drive a lot for work, you may run into the problem that your company calls you an “independent contractor” instead of an “employee” who’s covered under workers’ comp.
But you shouldn’t just accept that answer. You may be misclassified as an independent contractor, and you’re still entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
A workers’ comp attorney can help you sort this out.
In certain situations, your injury could give you both workers’ comp and personal injury claims.
This may be the case if you were injured in a car accident at work by someone who was not a fellow employee of your company.
You’ll need to talk to an attorney to determine all of your options.
One thing is certain: If you’re an employee and you were hurt while in a vehicle for work in Louisiana, you should file a workers’ comp claim.
The medical treatment and backup income are too important to your full recovery, physically and financially, to leave them on the table.
You start your claim by:
Talk to a workers’ comp lawyer next.
The workers’ comp system can be difficult to navigate, sometimes denying your benefits, sometimes granting you less than the full benefits you should receive.
Someone who deals with the process every day, like an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, can make sure you’re not getting shortchanged.
If you were working when you were injured in a car wreck, talk to the attorneys at Workers’ Compensation, LLC.