Auto Accidents at Work
Normally, a car accident simply happens, with any injuries being handled by your insurance company. However, if you are involved in an accident while you are on the job, the procedure to have your injuries compensated is somewhat different. If you are in a car accident with someone who is not a fellow employee, the process can become very complex. It is important to understand what your options are.
Making a Third Party Claim
While the normal remedy for accidents on the job is workers’ compensation, and the normal remedy for an accident that occurs during your off time is contacting your own insurer, an accident with another driver or actor requires making a claim with an insurance company that is not yours, and thus it is referred to as a third-party claim. This is because the only way Texas law allows you to make a claim for such an accident, as opposed to going through the workers’ compensation system, is if the accident was caused by someone other than your employer - a third party.
It is surprisingly simple to start the process, often requiring no more than a letter or phone call, which serves as giving notice. Any potential problems would arise when an insurance company takes issue with the apportionment of fault - in other words, if there is doubt about who might be responsible for the accident, this is when one might see an insurance company stonewall and refuse your claim. Texas is a “fault” state (as opposed to states that follow a “no-fault” system), which means that whoever is found to be at fault, or most at fault, usually will be required to bear the majority of any costs incurred.
Multiple Options for Compensation
If you are involved in an accident with a coworker or someone else who works for your employer in another capacity, the remedy you would pursue in the overwhelming majority of cases would be to file for workers’ compensation. Texas law states that for injuries on the job that occur under the aegis of your employer, workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy. However, if you are injured by the actions of a third party while in the scope of your employment, you have multiple avenues to pursue. The relevant statute permits third-party claims - or lawsuits, if necessary - to be filed against a non-employee actor if necessary.
Something to note also is that the law explicitly states that if you need to make a third-party claim, you may still be able to file for workers’ compensation if the facts warrant it. Some states require that an injured worker only request one or the other, but in Texas, there is nothing prohibiting an injured employee from seeking compensation from both their employer’s insurer and the third party that actually caused the accident. If the facts of your situation suggest doing so, you should pursue any option that is open to you. Medical bills can add up.
Seek Experienced Assistance from Our Auto Accident Lawyers
Being in an auto accident can be difficult and draining, but the extra confusion of your employer being involved can make it even worse. If you need experienced advice, the skilled New Braunfels car accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm can sit down with you and try to help determine the best path for you to pursue. Contact our office today to set up an initial appointment.