If you drive for work in Knoxville, you are exposing yourself to danger every day. The risks of getting into a car accident are much greater if you must operate a car or truck as part of your career.
Tennessee has workers’ compensation laws that protect employees who suffer injuries on the job. If your employment depends on driving, the same protections should apply to you. Even if you are driving your own vehicle for work purposes, your employer may liable for workers’ compensation after a car accident.
What is workers’ compensation?
The purpose of workers’ compensation is to help employees cover expenses resulting from an on-the-job injury. These expenses mostly include medical costs and lost wages because of work missed during recovery.
The concept of workers’ compensation is a bargain between workers and their employers. Prior to the enactment of these laws, the only way for employees to recover damages for an on-the-job injury was to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. In exchange for an easier process of receiving compensation, workers give up their right to sue for things like pain and suffering or punitive damages.
What do I get from workers’ compensation?
Tennessee workers’ compensation laws entitle injured employees to the following benefits:
- Temporary disability:The employer’s insurer will pay temporary disability benefits for as long as the employee is unable to return to work;
- Medical benefits:The insurer will cover your medical costs for as long as a physician authorizes treatment; and
- Permanent disability:If the injury is so severe that a full recovery is impossible or unlikely, the employee may qualify for permanent payments to cover lifelong costs associated with the injury.
Do I qualify for workers’ compensation?
You may qualify for workers’ compensation if you suffered an injury while performing tasks related to your employment. You will need to demonstrate that your crash occurred during work-related travel.
If the accident occurred during travel to and from work before or after a shift or during a break, you may not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. A car accident attorney with experience fighting for injured workers can help you determine the best way to pursue getting payment for your injuries.
What do I have to do in order to receive compensation?
You need to report the accident to your employer as soon as possible. The law requires notification within 30 days of the injury or within 30 days of a doctor informing you that the injury is work-related. Your employer must then notify its insurer.
Are there other ways to recover damages?
Another possible way to receive damages following an accident in a work vehicle is through a personal injury claim against the other driver. Both are ways to get compensation to help through your recovery, but there are important differences. An injury lawsuit will depend on who is at fault in the accident, but workers’ compensation does not.
If the other driver meets the legal definition of negligence, you can sue him or her for monetary damages, possible punitive damages, and compensation for pain and suffering. These are types of compensation that workers’ compensation does not provide.
If you suffered an injury while driving for work and a third party caused the accident, you may file a workers’ compensation claim through your employer and also a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for the crash.
What if the accident is my fault?
If you caused the accident while driving for work, your employer will probably be liable for the damages to the other person’s health or property.
There are two types of liability: vicarious and direct. Vicarious applies to most damages an employee might cause while driving in the course of his or her employment. Direct liability covers more specific forms of negligence on the part of the employer, such as failure to train an employee adequately.
Do I need a lawyer?
Workers’ compensation cases can get complex if they involve car accidents. For help securing fair compensation for injuries suffered while driving on the job, contact a Knoxville injury attorney with the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC. Call us today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free consultation.