Even with the drops in traffic and driving stemming from the global pandemic, statistics show transportation accidents were still the primary event for fatal work-related accidents in 2020. When many workers consider filing workers’ compensation for injuries at the workplace, they do not consider the injuries they suffer from transportation-related accidents.
However, workers who drive for a living are just as entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as other injured workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there were 1,778 fatal injuries that occurred from transportation-related work accidents in 2020. This accounted for 37.3% of all work-related fatalities in the United States.
When you are injured from your transportation accident, you can receive wage loss and medical benefits through workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system that provides financial compensation to injured workers. Because the Workers’ Compensation Act prohibits employees from filing a lawsuit against the employer for their injuries, they are entitled to payment of their medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
What qualifies as a work-related transportation accident?
Workers who drive for a living can pursue workers’ compensation for their accidents as long as their accident is work-related. Some workers believe that the accident must take place at the jobsite for it to be considered a work-related accident. However, in some cases, your car crash can qualify as a work-related accident.
Some examples of a work-related traffic accident include an accident that happens when an employee:
- Runs an errand for an employer
- Makes work-related deliveries
- Is transporting another employee or client
- Whose primary occupation is driving is involved in an accident
- Who has no fixed place of business
In addition to transportation accidents that happen away from the work site, there are also accidents that can happen on the jobsite. Workers can file for compensation benefits if they are involved in transportation accidents that occur even when they are not behind the wheel. For example, a warehouse worker who is injured while a truck driver is in the process of backing up can file for workers’ compensation benefits. Other similar transportation accidents that can happen on the job include accidents where a worker is struck by a motor vehicle or is caught between two work vehicles.
What types of injuries happen from transportation accidents?
Workers can suffer serious injuries from transportation accidents, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Serious head trauma
- Nerve damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
Can I file for workers’ compensation if I am the at-fault driver?
Yes. Even if you were the at-fault driver of your transportation accident, you can still file for workers’ compensation benefits. Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system, it does not matter whether you are the at-fault driver in your accident. Evidence of negligence is not considered in a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
What transportation accidents cannot be covered through workers’ compensation benefits?
Any accidents that have happened outside of the work environment or do not revolve around a work-related task cannot be covered through workers’ compensation. For example, a worker who is involved in a car accident on their way to or from work cannot pursue workers’ compensation benefits for that accident. In general, any accidents that happen to and from work are not considered work-related accidents.
How do I start the workers’ compensation process?
The workers’ compensation process usually begins once you seek medical attention for your injuries. Depending on your employer, you may be required to seek medical attention from the employer’s chosen physician. Otherwise, you can request to be seen by your personal physician. Seeking immediate medical attention will help you obtain the documentation you need for your workers’ compensation claim. You should report your injury to your employer as soon as possible after the accident occurs. If you have not already done so, after seeking immediate medical attention, you should immediately notify your employer about your injury. In the state of Pennsylvania, an injured worker has up to 120 days to notify their employer of their injury. It is in your best interest to submit this notification in writing to avoid any potential issues during the claim process.
After filing your workers’ compensation claim, follow up with your employer and the insurance company by keeping detailed records in reference to your injury. You can keep notes of how your injury is affecting your ability to perform your daily activities at work or home. You also want to keep any receipts of any out-of-pocket expenses that you pay relating to your injury, as well as any time off from work.
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you still have the right to appeal the decision by filing a Claim Petition with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. You must file the Claim Petition within three years of your date of injury. After finding out your claim was denied, your next step is to find a qualified attorney who can help with the filing of the Claim Petition and the litigation of that Petition.
At KBG Injury Law, our workers’ compensation attorneys understand the toll that your work-related injury takes on your life. You deserve to be represented by an attorney who listens to you and your needs instead of treating you like just another number. Call our firm at 717-848-3838, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We represent injured workers in York, Lancaster, Hanover, Harrisburg, Gettysburg and all of South Central Pennsylvania.
The personal injury attorneys at KBG Injury Law are all experienced litigators. Almost all of them represented insurance companies prior to becoming advocates for injured people, which provides them with a unique perspective and insight into how these companies operate. They also offer extensive courtroom experience if going to trial is the best legal alternative for the client.