New Jersey has a no-fault workers’ compensation system. This means injured employees can typically receive benefits regardless of who was at fault or how the accident happened. Workers are generally eligible for benefits if they are injured in an accident at work or another location while doing their job. However, what happens if you get in a car accident while working? Are you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits? Our South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers discuss what you should know about work-related car accidents below.
Am I Covered by Workers’ Compensation After a Work-Related Car Accident in New Jersey?
The most critical factor in determining eligibility is whether you acted within the course of your employment at the time of the accident. Were you on the job when the accident occurred? Were you performing your work duties? If so, you may be eligible for benefits.
Generally, any injuries sustained in an accident while commuting to and from your job are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Commuting is not considered a job-related activity under New Jersey’s going and coming rule. However, exceptions do exist. For example, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you were:
- Required to drive because it is part of your job to be away from a conventional place of employment
- Engaged in direct work duties assigned or directed by your employer
- Paid for travel time to another location for your job
- Using an employer-authorized vehicle, depending on the situation
A few examples of covered situations may include the following:
- A delivery driver was in a car accident while delivering packages.
- An employee was in an accident while traveling between job sites.
- An employee was in a car accident while on a business trip.
What If I Use My Personal Car for Work?
Some jobs require employees to use their own vehicles for work. Were you in your personal car but conducting work duties directed by your employer at the time of the accident? If so, you might still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
What If I am an Independent Contractor?
Only employees are covered under their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Independent contractors are not covered. As an independent contractor, your health insurance, and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage through your auto insurance can help cover your medical bills.
What Do I Do After a Work-Related Car Accident in South Jersey?
There are certain steps you should take after any accident before leaving the scene. These steps include:
- Call the police and notify them of the accident.
- Exchange information with the other driver, like name, contact information, and insurance information.
- Document the accident with photos of visible injuries, vehicle damages, and accident conditions.
- Gather witness information.
You should take additional steps after a work-related car accident. These steps can protect your health and potential workers’ compensation claim. Our South Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys recommend the following steps:
- Report the accident to your employer. You should report the accident to your employer as soon as possible. We recommend notifying your employer in writing and keeping a copy for your records.
- Seek medical attention. You should request medical treatment from your employer unless you need emergency care. Under the New Jersey workers’ compensation law, your employer or their insurance carrier can choose your medical provider for work-related injuries. Even if you feel okay, you should request medical treatment. Some injuries, like soft-tissue injuries, may not appear right away. Additionally, you need medical records for your potential claim.
- Contact an experienced South Jersey workers’ compensation attorney. The claims process for workers’ compensation can be complex. It may be difficult to recover the benefits you need. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the entire process. An attorney can also help you determine whether you may have a viable third-party claim against the other driver. If the driver was negligent, you may be able to pursue compensation for pain and suffering damages.
Schedule a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Case
Have you been injured in a work-related car accident in South Jersey? If so, do not hesitate to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights under the law and secure the benefits you need after an accident.
The workers’ compensation lawyers of the Law Offices of Craig A. Altman offer a free consultation to discuss your situation. Call us today at (856) 327-8899 or contact us online to speak to an attorney about your case.