Overview Work-Related Motor Vehicle Accidents in Pennsylvania
Every day, thousands of Pennsylvanians work a job that requires them to operate a motor vehicle to complete essential job functions. These Pennsylvanians include long and short-haul delivery truck drivers, mail carriers, traveling nurses, salespeople, and pharmaceutical representatives. While operating a motor vehicle for work appears to be a mundane task, there are certain risks associated with it. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. In fact, from 2003 until 2017, it is reported that 27,000 workers in the United States were killed in work-related motor vehicle accidents. In addition to the deaths that occur in these types of accidents, many workers sustain non-fatal injuries when involved in work-related motor vehicle accidents. Below, we outline what you can do in the event that you are involved in a work-related motor vehicle accident to get compensated for any injuries you sustain in the accident.
What Qualifies as a Work-Related Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you were involved in a work-related motor vehicle accident and sustain injuries in the accident, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation or you may sue your employer or the third party who caused the injury. In order to obtain workers’ compensation or sue an employer for an injury caused by a work-related motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania, you must be able to prove that the accident occurred in the course and scope of your employment.
Generally, commuting to and from work does not count as a work-related activity. Consequently, if you get into a motor vehicle accident during your commute, you will likely be unsuccessful in claiming that the crash was a work-related accident. There are exceptions to this general rule, however, if your work pays you to drive to and from work or you are in a company vehicle when the crash occurs.
Similarly, if you are using a company vehicle to run a personal errand or you take a detour while completing a job function and the crash occurs while you are engaging in these activities, you generally cannot successfully claim that the accident was a work-related accident and, therefore, you sustained work-related injuries. Any other type of motor vehicle accident that occurs while you are working will generally be considered work-related and, therefore, you may claim any injuries derived from the accident as work-related injuries.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Injuries that Occur Because of Work-Related Motor Vehicle Accidents
In Pennsylvania, you are generally entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured at work. Workers’ compensation benefits are payments made to injured workers to cover the costs of any medical expenses that accrue because the worker sustained an injury, to cover the costs of any physical or occupational rehabilitation therapy the worker has to undergo because of the injury, and to act as wage replacement for the worker while they are recovering from the injury. To receive workers’ compensation benefits for an injury that is derived from a work-related motor vehicle accident, the injured worker must submit a claim in accordance with Pennsylvania state law. This claim may be rejected if the worker does not submit the claim properly or was considered an independent contractor at the time the accident that caused the injury occurred.
If a worker was killed in a work-related motor vehicle accident, Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law also allows the spouse, children, and dependents of the worker to receive workers’ compensation death benefits if a claim is properly submitted and the worker was not considered an independent contractor at the time the accident causing the death occurred. These benefits will be payments made to the spouse, children, or dependents of the deceased worker and the amount of the payments will be based on the worker’s average weekly wages prior to death. In addition to regular death benefits, Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law also provides that families may also receive up to $3,000 to cover funeral and burial expenses.
Before submitting a workers’ compensation claim, it is best to obtain the services of an experienced attorney to ensure that you file a claim in accordance with Pennsylvania state law.
Personal Injury Claims for Injuries that Occur Because of Work-Related Motor Vehicle Accidents
As an alternative to filing a workers’ compensation claim or if you do not qualify for workers’ compensation, you may bring a personal injury lawsuit against either your employer or the third party that caused the work-related motor vehicle accident that, in turn, caused your injuries. Bringing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer under this circumstance may be successful if you can prove that the employer’s conduct in either maintaining the company vehicle that you were driving or having you drive under certain working conditions was negligent and that this negligence caused your injuries. Similarly, bringing a personal injury lawsuit against a third party for your injuries will only be successful if you can prove that the third party was operating his or her motor vehicle negligently and this negligence caused the crash and your subsequent injuries to occur.
Before submitting a personal injury claim for injuries sustained in a work-related motor vehicle accident, it is best to obtain the services of an attorney who can assess your case and advise you whether pursuing a personal injury claim or submitting a workers’ compensation claim is in your best interest.
Contact an Erie Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Work-Related Motor Vehicle Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a work-related motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Purchase George & Murphey P.C. represent clients injured because of work-related motor vehicle accidents in Erie, North East, Meadville, Titusville, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (814) 273-2010 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2525 W. 26th Street, Erie, PA 16506, as well as offices in North East, PA and Meadville, PA.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.