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Can I get workers' compensation after a work-related car accident?

car accident

There are many occupations that require driving as part of the job. These often include construction workers, delivery drivers, couriers, truck drivers, transportation drivers, first responders, and salespersons. Even employees who don't typically drive for work may occasionally have to travel for company events. Sometimes these workers sustain injuries in car accidents.

Common crash-related injuries include:

  • Neck, back, and spine injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries and concussions
  • Whiplash
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Lacerations, bruises, and contusions
  • Severe injuries such as quadriplegia, paraplegia, permanent nerve damage, or paralysis

Likelihood of a car accident on the job

According to The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the state had 125,267 car accidents in 2019. These crashes resulted in 76,243 injuries and 1,059 deaths. Many of these collisions were the result of:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Speeding
  • Driving too fast during inclement weather
  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Driving erratically

PennDOT reports that 1,626 crashes occurred in work zones. Approximately 1,074 roadside workers sustained injuries and 16 died as a result.

Pennsylvania has a Move Over law in place for roadside emergencies and work zones. Drivers must move over to the left lane or reduce their speed if they're unable to move over. State lawmakers recently signed Act 105 of 2020 into law, which will take effect on April 27, 2021. The law imposes strict penalties and fines on drivers who fail to adhere to the Move Over law.

According to AAA, there is a general lack of awareness and data regarding the effectiveness of Move Over laws. Federal lawmakers are seeking ways to gather such data and protect roadside workers.

Pursuing a workers' compensation claim

If you were injured in a car accident, there is no need to establish negligence when pursuing a workers' compensation claim. That's because workers' compensation in Pennsylvania is a no-fault system. You must prove that your injury happened within the scope of your employment, however. Workers' compensation doesn't cover injuries that occurred during your commute to and from work. To learn more about your legal rights, it's best to discuss your matter with an experienced Pennsylvania workers' compensation lawyer at Vellner Law, PC.

You must do the following to pursue a workers' compensation claim:

  • Notify your employer in writing that you were injured in a car accident while within the scope of your employment.
  • See a doctor and get a medical evaluation. Make sure you inform your doctor that you were hurt at work. Also, get documentation of your medical evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Consult with an attorney who can help you fill out your workers' compensation application form and accurately tally up your losses.

Under Pennsylvania law, you're eligible for compensation for current and future medical expenses, lost wages (based on your average weekly wage), and disability benefits (if you can't return to work or must modify your tasks for lesser pay). To get started on your workers' compensation claim, contact our Bethlehem or Allentown law offices and set up your free legal consultation.

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