If you’ve been injured in a work-related car accident, it is important to understand that you have legal options available to you regardless of your immigration status. In California, virtually all full-time and part-time employees are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage, including employees who are undocumented workers. This coverage “kicks in” when an employee is hurt while engaging in work-related activities.
If you’re potentially entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as a result of a work-related car crash, speak with an attorney as soon as you can, as the benefits application process for workers’ compensation is very time-sensitive. If you don’t take certain actions within days of your accident, you may be barred from receiving compensation that is rightfully yours.
It is also worth speaking with an attorney if you’ve been hurt in a work-related crash and you’re classified as an independent contractor. If you’ve been misclassified and you should be rightfully classified as an employee, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits at this time. If you’re correctly classified as an independent contractor, you may still be able to recover significant compensation via an insurance settlement or personal injury lawsuit.
What Does ‘Work-Related’ Mean?
As an experienced San Fernando Valley, CA car accident lawyer – including those who practice at Unidos Legales – can confirm, only car, truck, and other motor vehicle crashes that are work-related render an employee eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits in the event of an injury. This doesn’t mean that only those workers who operate vehicles for a living are entitled to benefits, though.
A car crash is generally considered to be work-related if it occurs while an employee is traveling for work-related purposes. For example, if your boss sends you out to get supplies and you crash on the way to or from the store, this is a work-related crash. Or, if you’re required to attend a meeting offsite and you crash on your way to or from the meeting, this is considered a work-related crash.
If you’re unsure of whether the circumstances of your crash make it work-related or not, that’s okay. Schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney to explain your situation. They’ll be able to evaluate your options after assessing the unique circumstances of your case.
The Issues of Causation and Fault
You may be in a position to collect workers’ compensation benefits for an injurious injury even if you were partially or totally at fault for your crash. Why? Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that unless you were drunk, high, starting a road rage incident, or purposefully trying to get hurt so you could collect benefits, you are almost certainly entitled to receive a benefits award due to your work-related injuries. The trade off of this system is that you can’t sue your employer directly in civil court if your employer was partially or totally responsible for what happened to you. This is because employers who pay into the no-fault workers’ compensation system benefit from liability protections as a result of their participation.