When drivers are injured at work, the usual means they would seek to pay for their injuries is to seek employee compensation.
There is a legal question as to what the right remedy is when one is involved in a work-related car accident.
Injured workers wonder if they need to go through the employee compensation system or if they can sue someone else. A public road is still a work environment when an employee has time in the company.
The ideal situation is to be able to claim personal injury, although this is rarely allowed.
Lots of different people have to drive to work. Common examples are truck drivers and delivery people who drive the company vehicle every day. Even people who take their own car with them on sales calls are considered to be on duty when they have a car accident behind the wheel. This would certainly be true if they were in a company car or pickup truck.
Ideally, the injured worker could file both a claim for damages and a lawsuit against another person following a motor vehicle accident. It would be both a work-related injury and a personal injury.
In most cases, workers must seek compensation as the only remedy against accidents at work. In other words, accident victims cannot file personal injury claims against their employer.
The whole reason for the employee compensation system is to protect employers and to keep injured workers able to receive financial compensation.
Employees cannot file both an employee compensation claim and a civil action against their employer. Nor can they choose between claiming employee compensation and filing negligence against their own company. Your employer is largely protected unless certain very limited exceptions apply.
For example, in Illinois, you can’t even sue your employer for gross negligence, an exception that exists in many other states. In Illinois, you can only sue your employer for work-related injuries if they intentionally caused your injuries or if they don’t have employee compensation insurance. These exceptions are extremely rare.
Using the Personal Injury Act to obtain compensation for a motor vehicle accident
However, as an employee compensation attorney might advise, the general rule may not apply if you have had an accident at work with a third party. If so, you may be able to sue the person responsible for the accident in a personal injury case.
The reason you want to sue a third party for a car accident is because it would increase your potential recovery. In some respects, entitlements to employee compensation are limited.
While you can claim lost wages and medical bills in an employee compensation case, you cannot recover for things like pain and suffering, future loss of income, emotional distress, and property damage to your personal vehicle. Illinois employees may not receive non-economic losses, but they can suffer the following economic losses in an employee compensation claim:
- Loss of wages for the time you have missed from work (future wage losses are not covered)
- Medical bills and other medical expenses
- Wrong death benefit
- The ongoing cost of maintenance.
While it is medical treatment, employee compensation usually does not cover non-economic injuries. Accordingly, as an employee, you may be looking for ways to bypass the system to improve your recovery in a personal injury proceeding. There are other injuries and damages that result in a more lucrative personal injury settlement with the auto insurer or a jury award in motor vehicle accidents.
The ideal situation is therefore to be able to file both an employee compensation claim and a lawsuit against a third party for a work-related car accident. You can also file a claim with a car insurance company.
You could do this if there is someone whose actions were responsible for your injuries in the car accident. This would mean that their negligence was the cause of the car accident.
Another way that an employer’s employees could also file a lawsuit against a third party for accidental injuries is for you to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or the vehicle or part.
If you’ve been injured due to a broken car or truck, you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer and likely get much more compensation than you would if you were to make a claim about employee compensation.
Even if you were responsible for the accident and were in the workplace, you could still file an employee compensation claim to pay for your injuries in a vehicle accident. This is a flawless system and, for the most part, did not address negligence or was responsible for the accident. There are very few exceptions.
However, if the employee has committed willful misconduct or reckless behavior, e.g. For example, if he was drunk at the time of the accident, he may not be able to claim any employee compensation. You may also not be able to claim if you have used the work vehicle in your spare time or for a non-work-related reason
You can think of employee compensation as a middle ground. The employee is protected even if he is to blame for the accident. However, their degree of recovery is limited as they cannot be recovered for certain things.