Many jobs require workers to travel around their cities, states, regions, or even the entire country. Whether they’re driving across town or cross-country to visit another business or client, traveling workers face the risk of being involved in auto accidents.
Some workers are provided company vehicles for use on these trips, while others are reimbursed for using their own vehicles. But when they’re involved in crashes, the outcome can be the same: serious injuries, expensive medical bills, and weeks or months of lost paychecks.
Getting compensation is always a top priority for workers who were injured while traveling for their jobs. But they often face a dilemma after these crashes. Where do they get compensation from: workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim?
To Be Eligible for Workers’ Comp, the Crash Must Have Occurred During Work-Related Activities
Some crashes that occur in company vehicles or that are associated with work-related tasks don’t qualify for workers’ compensation. To qualify, crashes must occur while the drivers are actively traveling for work-related purposes.
That means that an employee who has been assigned a company vehicle and is driving it to the grocery store to purchase personal items won’t be eligible for workers’ compensation if they’re hurt in a crash. However, if they’re driving to the grocery store to purchase items for a work-related event, they can be eligible for workers’ compensation, as their crash occurred while they were completing a work-related task.
To Be Eligible for a Personal Injury Lawsuit, the Driver Must Be Less Than 51% at Fault
Oklahoma follows a modified comparative negligence rule for determining compensation in personal injury claims. It means that people can still get compensation provided if they are less than 51% at fault for crashes. If a driver is found to be 51% or more at fault for an accident, they can’t sue or file an injury claim against their or the other driver’s insurance.
However, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in Oklahoma. That means that people who are injured while on the job or performing work-related activities can still get compensation for their medical bills and lost wages, even if they are partially or fully at fault for their accidents and injuries.
If You Meet the Criteria, You Can File a Workers’ Compensation AND a Personal Injury Claim
If you were injured in a crash that was less than 51% your fault and you were performing a work-related task while driving, you can file a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim. Although filing two claims may be more complex than filing just one (especially a personal injury claim, which will be more heavily scrutinized by the insurance company than a workers’ compensation claim), it can lead to more money for you and your family.
For most recipients, workers’ compensation in Oklahoma is capped at 70% of their weekly average wages. So, while workers’ comp pays for victims’ medical bills, it doesn’t 100% compensate them for their lost wages. A personal injury claim can help cover that gap and then some, as it can also compensate victims for their pain and suffering, which workers’ compensation doesn’t cover.
However, the amount of money victims receive from workers’ compensation may be reduced if they also receive money from a personal injury settlement or verdict. But this reduction may be worth it depending on the severity of your damages, as personal injury claims in Oklahoma have no cap. In addition, you may be eligible for punitive damages alongside your other damages.
We Can Help You Make the Right Decision After a Work-Related Crash
As long as you were driving for work-related purposes, you don’t have to be driving a company vehicle to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. And as long as you are less than 51% at fault for a crash, you also may be eligible for a personal injury settlement. But knowing whether to file only one type of claim or both can be confusing.
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers can help you decide which type of claim to file by looking at the evidence and by determining which route will benefit you the most financially. And because we have years of experience handling both types of claims, we can take over all aspects of your financial recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.