Personal Injury AND Worker’s Comp Claims
Oh, lort. This stuff can get really complicated…but here it goes:
Most of you are familiar with the idea of a worker’s comp claim…you get hurt at work, you have the right to certain protective benefits. Most of you are familiar with auto accident injury claims…someone runs into you and you hope to be able to recover what you lost as a result of their negligence.
But what happens if you have an auto accident claim WHILE you’re working? Can you have a worker’s comp claim AND a personal injury claim at the same time? YES! But be careful how you handle them.
I could write FOR DAYS on what you are entitled to with each of these claims and how they might intersect, but that would make for a long blog post that no one would want to read. So let’s just summarize:
What should you get from worker’s comp? Mostly just three things: Payment for your time out of work due to your injury, payment of your medical expenses, and to the extent that you have permanent impairment, payment for that. There are lots of little nuances in there, and they aren’t quite as nice as they sound, but they’re something.
What should you get from a personal injury claim? I’ve written on this previously, so check this post out. But suffice it to say you should be able to recover for whatever you can prove was proximately caused by the negligence of the other driver…normally this is full payment of your medical expenses, lost income, and something for pain and suffering. The main difference with worker’s comp is that there is NO PAIN AND SUFFERING IN WORKER’S COMP.
But here’s the big problem: The Worker’s Comp Lien. Whatever worker’s comp pays for, they’re going to want you to pay them back from whatever you get out of the related injury claim settlement (what they’ll call the third-party claim). This can result in the classic “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” metaphor, but there’s a lot that your attorney can do to help you navigate this issue. Sometimes we can help to limit the payment of the lien, and sometimes we can make it go away totally! What you DON’T want to do is handle your worker’s comp and personal injury liens claim without considering this, because you might end up just taking lots of money from one insurance company and giving it to another. And that’s not what any good-natured American wants now, is it?
Anyway, if you have a worker’s comp claim resulting from an auto accident, call me or another attorney before it gets too wacky. 919-929-2992.
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