What to Do After Being Involved in a Work-Related Car Accident
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Grant Lawson with Metier Law Firm.
Any car accident can result in a stressful and complicated recovery process, and work-related car accidents can be even more complicated due to the variety of parties that are involved; the employee driver, another driver, the employer, the employer’s insurance provider, etc. It is important to know what to do after being involved in a car accident while on the job or in a company vehicle.
Many employers offer workers’ compensation, commonly referred to as “workers’ comp”; this is an insurance program designed to offer financial compensation for an injured employee’s medical bills and lost wages while protecting the employer from liability. Workers’ comp laws vary from state to state, so it’s a good idea to contact a workers’ comp attorney in your area to learn more about your options for recovery after a car accident at work.
Steps to take immediately after a work-related car accident include the following:
- Seek immediate medical attention if necessary. Even if you do not feel injured after a car accident, it is always important to seek medical attention. If the injury is not severe, it may be possible to collect evidence at the scene and then seek medical treatment, but beware waiting to seek medical care. Some injuries may not be felt for days or even weeks after an accident, but waiting to seek medical care could actually have a negative impact on your options for recovery in the future.
- Notify your supervisor and Human Resources (HR) department. It is especially important to contact your supervisor and Human Resources (HR) department if your company has one as soon as possible after the accident. A work-related car accident must be reported in a specific window of time after the accident occurs. This also ensures that your workers’ compensation benefits can begin to be processed so that you can seek the financial support you and your family need right away.
- Collect evidence from the scene of the accident. If you are not too injured, you may collect evidence at the scene of the accident before seeking medical care. Otherwise, a family member, friend, coworker, or even an attorney can collect evidence at the scene on your behalf. Important evidence to document when, where, and how the crash occurred includes pictures of both vehicles, pictures of any damaged property surrounding the accident, contact information and testimonies of any witnesses to the accident, as well as the contact information of any other drivers or third-parties involved in the wreck.
- Contact a workers’ comp attorney. Many workers attempt to handle workers’ compensation claims alone. While this may be possible in some very simple, straightforward cases, many times failing to consult an attorney first results in a loss of potential compensation. For example, basic workers’ compensation benefits may only cover your damages up to a certain point, even though your medical expenses or ability to work at the same capacity as before could be affected far into the future. This is why it is important to discuss your situation with a workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
- Attend any follow-up medical appointments. This is a step that many workers forego to their detriment. Failing to attend any and all follow-up medical appointments requested by a doctor can have a negative impact on a workers’ eligibility for compensation. Waiting to seek medical care or failing to attend a scheduled or requested medical appointment could cause others to question the legitimacy of the injury in the first place. Additionally, seeking medical care and attending follow-up appointments ensures that an official record exists documenting the existence of the injury.
To learn more about work-related car accidents or for help filing a claim for compensation, reach out to a workers’ comp attorney for a free consultation.