Workers’ compensation is mostly associated with people injured while handling a machine or who got injured by a fall. These are usually cases where people are hurt at work. But what happens in cases of car accidents? The numbers of cars on the highways are increasing every day, and many of them are used for work purposes. In South Carolina alone, there is a car accident every four minutes, and a person is injured in a crash every nine minutes. This is according to 2015 statistics.
You may qualify to get compensation after an accident, but there are other legal modalities you need to consider.
What Happens When You Are Injured At Work?
The rules surrounding workers’ compensation when you are hurt on the job differs from state to state. Generally, as long as the injuries are work-related, you should be compensated. The benefits you receive will cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other accommodations.
A lot of states have a short time within which you need to file an accident report. Whether you are injured or not, you should always ensure you immediately report any accident that occurs while on the job. Your report could cause your employer to take measures to increase worker safety and prevent future injuries.
The Legal Doctrine Respondeat Superior
A company’s driver relationship with their employee falls under the legal doctrine respondeat superior. This simply means that your employer is potentially legally responsible to a third party for any action you or other drivers of the company take. The law recognizes that you are acting on behalf of the employer. Accidents that occur during your commute to and from work, and during lunch hour are generally not considered, and your employer will not be liable for them whether you are hurt on the job or not. However, if they furnish the means of transportation, the law can differ.
What If You Are At Fault?
The legal doctrine of respondeat superior applies to accidents that involve the company car. If you are at fault and you cause another person’s injury or loss of property, you and your employer may be found liable. Third parties include drivers of other vehicles, their passengers, bystanders, and passengers in the company vehicle. However, if the passenger in the company car is a fellow employee, their claim against the company is generally limited to a workers’ comp claim under the fellow servant doctrine. Fortunately, most commercial liability insurance covers injuries to third parties.
What To Do When You Are Hurt On The Job
- Report the injury right away. South Carolina law gives you 90 days to report the on the job injury, but why wait? If you know you’ve been injured at work, go ahead and report the claim so that your employer can then report it to the workers’ compensation insurance company.
- Seek appropriate medical treatment. Don’t be stoic. If you are injured, get checked out. Your employer should designate a doctor for you to visit, and all expenses are paid by them or the workers’ comp carrier. There is no reason to delay treatment. Often the injury gets worse instead of better. And if you wait several weeks to seek treatment, there may be a question as to the causal connection between the injury and your symptoms. If you are hurt and have symptoms, you are entitled to get checked out by a doctor your employer recommends.
- Seek representation by an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Workers’ comp laws are full of deadlines and extensive regulations. The other side is being handled by experienced professionals who do this for a living. You will be seriously mismatched if you try and handle the case on your own. Most attorneys handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that our fees are paid out of any recovery.
If you have been injured at work, even if it happened on the road, give Best and Flatt a call today to protect your rights.
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