When we think of workers’ compensation (WC), what usually comes to mind are the most obvious types of workplace accidents: a slip on a wet break room floor, a dangerous fall at a construction site, or exposure to toxic chemicals while on the clock. But according to the most recent 2019 CDC data, car accidents made up a whopping 24 percent of all workplace deaths. Due to New Jersey’s somewhat complicated no-fault insurance laws, however, many people wonder whether these car accidents will be covered under workers’ comp. I’ll explain how it works below, and tell you how a Northern New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer at Buttafuoco & Associates may be able to assist with your case.
Understanding New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Laws
Whether your car accident will be covered under workers’ comp laws can be largely explained by Title 34, Chapter 15, Articles 1 through 10 of New Jersey statute. This statute states that any accident that “[arises] out of and in the course of his employment” is covered by WC insurance. Any time you sustain a personal injury in an accident that takes place during your usual on-the-job obligations, you can be compensated through your employer’s insurance.
Some people worry that New Jersey no-fault laws (where your own insurance must pay for any damages you incur) apply to on-the-job accidents. This is absolutely not the case. WC insurance is an entirely separate entity, and your employer’s insurance will pay for compensation for injuries, ongoing treatment, and other accident-related health expenses.
What Qualifies as an Employment-Related Activity?
If your job duties consist entirely of driving a taxi, truck, bus, or other vehicle, and you were driving a company vehicle at the time of your accident, you will usually have no trouble recovering WC and will have no need for a car accident lawyer in Northern New Jersey.
However, if you were driving a different type of vehicle, such as a personal vehicle, during your car accident, you may be faced with more questions. In this case, you might have to prove that your collision occurred while you were running an errand for your boss, on your way to a meeting or event offsite or were traveling because of a company emergency. Any of these would fall under workers’ comp.
If, on the other hand, you got in an accident on your way to or from work, this would not qualify unless you are paid for your drive time. While this is somewhat uncommon, there are exceptions such as healthcare workers who provide in-home care.
Regardless of the situation, if you are struggling to be compensated after an accident, an attorney can be helpful. Buttafuoco & Associates offers free consultations and we’re always happy to answer questions and address concerns.
What if Someone Disputes My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
While New Jersey laws around WC may sound straightforward, what often causes complications are disputes with employers, or more often, insurance companies.
If you believe your car accidents should qualify under New Jersey workers’ comp laws but your employer or insurer is disputing it, working with a Northern New Jersey car accident attorney is typically in your best interest.
Here are three common scenarios we see at Buttafuoco & Associates, in regard to WC claims:
It is unfortunately quite common to experience pushback or even a flat-out denial of your workers’ comp claim from your employer’s insurance company. Insurance companies are businesses, which means they will do everything in their power to turn a profit, which means avoiding paying the full amount a victim is entitled to.
This is one of the worst situations to find yourself in as a victim. If you accept a reduced offer or simply accept the fact that your claim was denied, you may find yourself unable to pay for necessary health care, therapy, and other care you need to recover. If an insurance company offers a lowball settlement and is unwilling to negotiate, always get in touch with an attorney immediately.
If you have a pre-existing condition, your WC claim is significantly more likely to be denied. Any time you are injured in an accident, an insurance company can (and often will) try to blame your injury on a pre-existing condition, even if this is completely untrue. Again, this is a case where a workers’ compensation attorney serving Northern New Jersey could be incredibly useful for your vehicle accidents.
If your injuries are serious and require surgery or expensive medical treatment, you may have trouble getting an insurer to approve your claim. Again, this is because insurance companies are for-profit businesses and want to pay as little as possible.
A serious injury can also completely prevent you from working or significantly reduce the type and amount of work you are able to do. In this case, a lawyer is indispensable to helping you strategically maximize your workers’ compensation benefits so they last for as long as possible.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers
If you find yourself in any of the situations above, don’t give up: get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates for an honest and informative consultation at no charge. As specialists in car accident cases, we have helped many clients with workers’ comp cases over the years. We will always go head-to-head with insurance companies in order to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
If you need help with your workers’ compensation claim, get in touch with us today at 1-800-NOW-HURT.