Getting into a motor vehicle accident is a real risk for anyone behind the wheel. However, for someone who drives for a living, the risk is even higher simply from being on the road more. Also, the vehicle size makes it hard to stay safe. Workers such as truckers, delivery people and taxi drivers often receive the blame for these accidents, but they are also victims of other motorists’ bad driving.
If another vehicle hits you when you are on duty, you may be eligible for both workers’ compensation and a claim against the party responsible for the collision. It is important to know this because workers’ comp only covers certain expenses, such as lost income and medical bills, with a cap on the amount. A third-party lawsuit allows you to pursue higher damages and additional avenues of compensation, such as pain and suffering.
Getting into a crash while driving to or from work does not qualify as a workplace accident. However, special errands do. This means that if your job does not normally require driving, but you had to run a special errand while on the job, then an accident during that time is eligible for workers’ comp as well as a claim against the driver.
Workers comp’ liens
Workers’ compensation law allows carriers to receive some reimbursement, called a lien, for their benefits if you win a third-party lawsuit. However, in 2016, a Massachusetts court ruled that the reimbursement cannot come from awards for pain and suffering because workers’ comp does not cover this area. This action protects more of your money so you can use it toward the long-term costs of the accident.
Other third-party claims
In some cases, a defective vehicle part may be the cause of the accident. If this happens, you can also sue the manufacturer or retailer for the faulty product.