We handle lots of auto claims. Occasionally we get a client whose job involves driving and who was hit by a careless driver while she was on the job. In some ways, these claims are just like any other claim, but in several important ways, they are different. It is important to consult with a Washington car accident attorney who understands how to handle the job injuries.
In any auto accident case, there is a claim against the driver who caused the accident and his or her insurance company. This doesn’t change in an on the job car wreck, but there is the added component of a workers compensation claim, which is usually administered by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (“L&I”).
In a typical auto case, your medical bills would be paid first by your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, and later by your medical insurance. However, if the injuries were sustained while working, your worker’s compensation insurance should pay all of your medical bills, as well as compensate you for your time off from work. Often your personal injury lawyer can coordinate with the worker’s compensation administrator, but sometimes you need a lawyer who specifically deals with L&I claims to intervene with the Department on your behalf.
At the conclusion of your claim, the Department will have a claim for reimbursement of the amounts it has paid. Again, a qualified attorney will be able to make sure you get the best deal from L&I, that you are eligible for future treatment or time loss, if necessary, and that you get a proper recovery for any residual disability you continue to suffer from the accident.
All in all, a car accident while on the job is very similar to any other motor vehicle accident, and an experienced personal injury lawyer should be able to help you. But it is important to understand in cases like this that the involvement of workers compensation insurance can subtly change the complexion of the case in ways that could make a big impact on your final recovery.
As always, it is my philosophy that an injured person should be free to focus all of his energy on healing his body and family, and getting his life back to normal while letting a lawyer handle the insurance aspects of the claim. This not only increases the likelihood of a good financial recovery, but it speeds the recovery from the injuries while minimizing the stresses already placed on the injured person and his family.