You’ve heard the talk. You are considered an essential worker during times of trouble. You’re a hero.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident while you were delivering essential goods, you probably don’t feel like a hero. Beyond the pain, you are probably feeling some combination of angry and scared. You may be unable to work, but your bills won’t quit. Now that you’ve been injured, who is going to take care of you?
Delivery drivers should know that they are almost certainly eligible for workers’ compensation after a job-related car crash. Assuming you were working when the crash occurred, you should start with the assumption that you can make a workers’ comp claim.
Take that seriously. Notify your boss as soon as reasonably possible that you have been hurt on the job. Get the workers’ comp claim started.
At the same time, you should be aware that you may have an additional resource for compensation. If your injury is serious and the other driver was negligent, or if the accident was caused by a fault in your vehicle, you may have an additional personal injury claim. This is called a “third-party claim.”
Workers’ compensation is meant to cover any worker who is injured on the job regardless of fault. Therefore, you do not have to prove that your employer’s negligence caused the accident in order to be covered. In exchange for coverage regardless of fault, you are barred from suing your boss or coworkers for your injury.
But when the party who injured you is not part of your company, they are considered a “third party.” You are not barred from seeking compensation from third parties.
A third party can be anyone — the other driver in the crash, the producer of a faulty auto or auto part, or anyone else whose negligence or wrongdoing caused your accident.
New York’s no-fault law
You may also be aware that New York is a no-fault state when it comes to car crashes. This law was set up to get compensation to injured people regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
However, only $50,000 in compensation is available under the no-fault law. If you have a serious injury, the medical costs alone could exceed $50,000.
If you exceed the $50,000 limit, you may make a claim against any additional coverage you have, such as Additional Personal Injury Protection (Additional PIP). However, you have the right to sue the responsible party for any excess damages.
All these legalities can be difficult to navigate. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can help. Your lawyer can keep track of your various legal claims and navigate the insurance compensation process. If a lawsuit is necessary, you want a lawyer who has experience at trial.
If you have been hit by a car while carrying out your essential work, don’t give up. Talk to an attorney to ensure you understand all your rights and options.