Can Someone Injured While Driving For Work Pursue A Personal Injury Claim?

by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC on July 24, 2015

in Buffalo Injury Questions and Answers

Many people in the Buffalo area have jobs that require them to drive.

When a worker is injured in a car accident caused by another driver, the interaction of New York’s laws governing Worker’s Compensation, No Fault Insurance, and personal injury claims can make the matter very complicated.

While there is no bar to pursuing a personal injury claim in a car accident just because someone was working at the time, it may not always be in the employee’s interest to do so.

As a result, an experienced personal injury attorney should be consulted to analyze the specific facts of the case.

When a driver was not working, up to the first $50,000 of that person’s medical expenses and lost wages are usually paid by his or her own No Fault automobile insurance.

When a person is driving for work, however, these expenses are paid by Worker’s Compensation insurance instead.

A driver does not need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to obtain these initial payments.

If the driver does make a personal injury claim against another party, these initial payments made by Worker’s Compensation insurance are treated the same as payments made by No Fault insurance.

They cannot be recovered by either the driver or the Worker’s Compensation insurance company.

This means that if the employee does pursue a personal injury claim, the Worker’s Compensation carrier cannot seek to get back the money it paid in place of No Fault payments from the negligent driver.

Worker’s Compensation may, however, recover for other payments it has made, including medical expenses and lost wages that exceed this $50,000 threshold.

In such cases, it is important to carefully analyze the best course of action to pursue.

It may not be to the driver’s benefit to make a personal injury claim if it only results in having to repay Worker’s Compensation or endangers possible future payments from Worker’s Compensation.

If you have been in a car accident and have any questions, please feel free to call us at 716-631-9999 for a free consultation.

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