Massachusetts residents that are required to drive as part of their employment often ask what happens when they are injured in a car accident while on the job. If your job entails a lot of driving, you should know what you are entitled to in the event you are seriously injured in a car accident while in the course of your employment. You may be surprise to know that you could be entitled to much more than just workers’ compensation in Massachusetts.
Car Crashes Are Very Common in Massachusetts
Of course, no one ever expects to be involved in an auto accident, never mind injured. But, accidents are a common occurrence. Just think about how many times you see cars on the side of the road or the police and an ambulance passing traffic trying to get to a crash scene.
Based upon the most recent Massachusetts Crash Statistics from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, there were nearly 125,000 total annual car crashes. Of those crashes, there were over 4,000 people serious injured and over 330 fatalities. These statistics show how common car accidents are.
Workers’ Compensation for People Injured in Car Accidents
If your employment requires you to drive and you are injured in a car accident, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (Chapter 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws) provides that employees injured in the course of their employment shall receive workers’ compensation benefits. Specifically, Section 26 of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act provides: “If an employee…receives a personal injury arising out of and in the course of his employment…he shall be paid compensation by the insurer…”
An important distinction between workers’ compensation benefits from a car accident and damages from personal injuries from a car accident in Massachusetts is that workers’ compensation benefits are available regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This means that if you were in the course of your employment when injured in a motor vehicle accident and you are found to be responsible for causing the accident, you are still entitled to workers’ compensation.
In contrast, if you are at fault for causing the accident, you cannot collect damages from a personal injury claim. This is because in a bodily injury claim, the injured person seeking damages must establish that the other driver was negligent and caused the accident and injuries.
When are You Entitled to Both Workers’ Comp and Damages from a Personal Injury Claim?
In the situation where a person is injured in a car crash while in the course of his or her employment and someone else is responsible for causing the car accident, the injured employee may be entitled to both workers’ comp and damages from a bodily injury claim.
These types of scenarios provide the injured person with the ability to obtain additional compensation. This is because the injured person can collect workers’ compensation (i.e., disability benefits and medical benefits) and damages from personal injury case (i.e., compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering).
Remember, pain and suffering is not compensable under the Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws. However, financial compensation for pain and suffering is available in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Also, 100% of lost wages are also recoverable in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, whereas workers’ compensation benefits only provide 60% of an employee’s average weekly wage for temporary total disability benefits.
While the workers’ compensation insurer will have a lien on any recovery in a personal injury claim arising from the same accident, the injured employee will usually benefit.
Injured in a Car Accident on the Job? Get Legal Help Today
If you have been hurt in an accident on the job and the accident was caused by a third party, you may have more than just a workers compensation claim in Massachusetts. You may have a third party personal injury claim against the person, who caused the accident. A very important decision you can make right away is to seek advice from an experienced injury attorney.
Mahaney & Pappas, LLP has represented numerous employees hurt on the job get the compensation they deserve from both workers compensation and from the negligent third party, who is legally responsible for causing the employee’s injuries. We offer free, no-obligation initial meetings and case evaluations. All you have to do is call (508) 879-3500 or contact us online today. Call today to see how we can help you.