Commercial vehicle accidents present all manner of problems, from a legal standpoint, that don’t exist in other forms of motor vehicle accident. When two cars collide, for example, usually it’s one driver or the other at fault.
What happens, however, if you’re driving a commercial vehicle like a delivery truck in the course of employment, and you get in an accident? Who’s responsible in that case? Is it your boss? The other driver? What kinds of damages can you collect? Learn how workers’ compensation and third-party damages figure into commercial truck accidents and how a truck accident lawyer can help.
Commercial Truck Accidents and Workers’ Comp
In general, when you’re involved in commercial truck accidents while driving a work vehicle in the course of your job, workers’ compensation is going to kick in to cover your injuries. This form of insurance is a no-fault protection for all workers to make sure that when they’re hurt while performing their job, their medical bills are paid and they receive weekly compensation to help offset lost wages while they work on recovery.
Under workers’ comp, you cannot receive damages for pain and suffering, emotional trauma, or anything outside of medical bills and weekly compensation based on your average salary at the time of the accident.
In order to receive workers’ compensation, you’ll need to inform your supervisor and file an accident report. Keep track of your recovery bills and keep detailed notes on how the accident has interfered with your ability to work.
Can I Sue My Boss?
When you accept a job involving workers’ compensation (which is almost every job), you forfeit your right to sue your employer. This means that you can’t file a personal injury claim against them because of the accident.
Can I Sue a Third Party?
In some cases, you may be able to sue a third party for your accident. If another driver caused the accident, you might be able to file an injury claim against them, which can potentially open the door to greater damages, including pain and suffering, lost future compensation, damage to your quality of life, loss of relationships and more.
You may also be able to sue the manufacturer of the vehicle parts if it can be proved that something on the truck was defective and that defect led to the accident. This can be tricky to prove, however.
Can I Get Both?
You cannot “double dip.” If you receive workers’ compensation and then file a lawsuit against a third party, you must reimburse the workers’ comp insurance company for any compensation you recovered while pursuing your lawsuit.
What If I Caused the Accident?
If you caused the accident, you can still collect workers’ compensation. In addition, the third party may be able to file suit against your employer under the doctrine of respondeat superior, which means that your employer bears responsibility for your actions while you’re working.
Personal Injury Attorneys
Any time you’re injured and it’s someone else’s fault, whether commercial truck accidents or other work-related injuries, it helps to contact a qualified workers’ comp or truck accident attorney. For more information, contact Heuser & Heuser LLP for a free evaluation of your case today!