If you were involved in a car accident while on the job, you may be eligible for personal injury benefits as well as workers compensation benefits. An employee can file for both Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.) and workers' compensation benefits simultaneously if an accident occurred while they were driving:
- A car owned by the company,
- Within the scope of their employment, and
- On company time
If you or a loved one have been in a car accident while on the job, you should inform your employer of the accident and fill out a First Report of Injury form.
Hire a Lawyer Who Knows How to Handle Both Cases
To ensure that you get the most out of both systems, hire a lawyer who knows how to handle both cases. When someone has been in a motor vehicle accident while on the job, there is an unfortunate tendency for some lawyers to focus on the particular practice area that they are most familiar with. In the legal system, when a lawyer is focused on the personal injury aspect, they may focus on sending an injured person to a personal injury protection doctor for ongoing care and treatment. This can be very detrimental in some cases when the workers’ comp system could pay a person’s lost wages as well as have an unlimited responsibility to pay for medical care.
Call the Police and Get a Report
The first step in any auto accident is to call the police. This is important for developing key information about the accident, such as the drivers involved, their insurance, the types of vehicles involved, etc. You may want to get the information of the officer who filed the report as well. It will come in handy if you ever need to contact the officer later.
Never try to handle a car accident without calling the police, especially while you are on the job. Chances are the other party is a stranger, and if police and insurance reports are not made, there is no recourse if the stranger breaks an agreement made.
Witness interviews are vital in any motor vehicle accident. When emotions such as fear, anger and trauma are running high between the drivers, having the unbiased opinion of a neutral bystander is invaluable.
Officers do not usually take photos of an accident unless there has been fatality, but taking pictures as soon as possible after an accident can help determine who is at fault. The sooner they are taken, the better, as it ensures the area had not been changed. For instance, there may have been a stop sign that someone should have fully stopped at, or a nearby construction site that triggered a crash.
Notify Your Employer
If you were on the clock, traveling to a business meeting or “on the job” in any other way during the accident, you must notify your employer and fill out a First Report of Injury as soon as possible.