As a society, we rely on professional drivers to transport and deliver our groceries and other consumer goods. Without individuals willing to get behind the wheel of 18-wheelers, delivery trucks, buses, and other large delivery or transportation vehicles, Albuquerque would not be the functioning place that it is.
But when you’re injured in an on-the-job crash, you might be left wondering, “Who’s responsible for a work-related car accident?”
Liability isn’t always clear in commercial vehicle accidents, and you could be dealing with multiple at-fault parties who are all trying to heap the blame back onto you. You deserve better. Whether you’re dealing with severe injuries that put you out of work or are struggling to pay your growing medical bills, you deserve to be fairly compensated for an accident that wasn’t your fault.
Life After an On-the-Job Car Wreck
If you drive for a living or as part of your employment, your life may be forever altered by a motor vehicle accident. Injuries associated with large vehicle accidents can be severe, limiting your ability to work in a field in which you’ve already built a solid reputation and career. Professional drivers may have to switch to different career fields or stop working altogether after suffering:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Permanent disability
Truck, bus, and delivery drivers who have been injured in a work-related car accident may also suffer more than just physically. Mental anguish after an accident is far from uncommon, as flashbacks of the collision, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and difficulty finding or maintaining new employment can leave many feeling distraught or unfulfilled.
Doctors and other medical professionals treating victims for work-related car crashes should screen for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health disorders. However, the cost of additional care can feel out of reach for some victims.
At Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm, we believe that cost should never be a barrier to post-accident treatment.
Recovering compensation for an accident can be a complicated process, though, especially for those who are unfamiliar with New Mexico’s civil legal system. We offer free consultations to accident injury victims in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. If you’ve been hurt and aren’t sure what your legal options are, please reach out to our office at your earliest convenience.
Who Can Be Responsible for a Work-Related Car Accident
Multiple at-fault parties can play a role in a work-related car accident. Depending on the situation and unique factors of a crash, potential liable parties may include:
- An employer
- An auto parts manufacturer
- A vehicle designer or manufacturer
- Other drivers on the road
- A contracted third-party employee
- A company that loaded cargo
Do I Have a Workers’ Compensation Claim or a Personal Injury Claim?
If you’ve been injured while operating a company vehicle, delivering goods, or driving between work sites while on the clock, you know that you need compensation for your injuries. However, how can you be sure if you should file a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim?
The answer is not always as clear as it may seem, and some accidents may even warrant pursuing compensation from both a workers’ comp and personal injury claim. Let’s take a closer look at both of these claims and when they might be most appropriate.
Worker’s Compensation Claims
Generally speaking, if you are injured through the course of your employment while carrying out your work duties, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Not sure if you’re covered by workers’ compensation? In New Mexico, state law requires all employers to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage if:
- They have three employees in the state of New Mexico
- They have one employee in the state of New Mexico, and two additional employees in a different state
The vast majority of workers in Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and New Mexico as a whole are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, be cautioned that compensation for lost wages is typically less than the full amount you were previously earning. Indemnity benefits available through workers’ comp include:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
- Death or survivor benefits
The type of indemnity benefits to which you are entitled will depend upon the severity of your injuries, whether you can return to the same position, if you need to retrain into a different industry, or if you are unable to work at all. Death and survivor benefits are paid in the event that a worker is killed in a fatal collision.
Medical benefits for those who have survived serious work-related car accidents are also available through workers’ compensation. These benefits entitle an injured worker to necessary and reasonable medical care, but your doctor’s idea of what is necessary and the insurer’s idea of what they are willing to pay for are often two very different things.
If your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer is unwilling to pay for treatment that your doctor has deemed as necessary, contact Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm as soon as possible to learn more about your rights in this situation.
Personal Injury Claims
Although maintaining workers’ compensation insurance coverage shields employers from being sued for employee injuries, you still have the right to file a personal injury claim against negligent third parties.
Regarding work-related car accidents, a negligent third party is an individual who is not your employer who played a role in your crash and subsequent injuries. This could be the driver who hit you, the maintenance company responsible for maintaining the vehicle, or contract workers who loaded the cargo.
If our investigation determines that a third-party caused or played a role in your work car accident, you can recover additional compensation via a car crash claim. Personal injury claims can provide compensation for losses not covered by workers’ compensation, including current and future lost wages, lost earning potential, medical expenses, and non-financial losses. Mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life are not covered by workers’ compensation but are common damages in personal injury cases.
Speak With a Work Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured in a work-related car accident, you need to be fully aware of your options for securing compensation. Whether your case warrants filing for workers’ compensation benefits, pursuing compensation in a personal injury claim or both, Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can be your tireless guide through the process.
For an opportunity to speak with a work injury lawyer in a free and confidential setting, please contact our law office. We’ll schedule you for a free consultation as soon as possible.
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