Injured While Driving a Vehicle at Work - Underinsurance Coverage
Workers whose job it is to operate motor vehicles are entitled to multiple benefits if injured. This holds true for tractor trailer operators, delivery personnel, or even a worker who runs a work-related errand while operating a motor vehicle.
If your job is to operate a motor vehicle and you have an accident, you are entitled to multiple benefits. The laws and regulations governing the payment of these benefits, can be hard to comprehend. If you are injured while operating a motor vehicle at work, you must make certain to obtain all of the compensatory benefits to which you are entitled.
First, if you are injured at work while operating a motor vehicle for your employer, you are entitled to Workers' Compensation benefits, including but not limited to weekly paycheck replacement, and payment of medical bills. Second, if you are not at fault and another vehicle causes the accident, then you can file a lawsuit against the party that caused the accident, and their insurance company, for recovery of damages. This type of lawsuit is called a third-party liability lawsuit.
In Rhode Island, in addition to recovering Workers' compensation benefits and compensation from the person that causes the accident (third-party lawsuit), as an injured worker you may also file a claim against any underinsurance policies that apply.
For example, if the vehicle you are operating for your employer (or your own personal vehicle) has underinsurance coverage that allows you to recover if you are injured by someone without enough coverage, then this underinsurance coverage may also be applied for and used to your benefit. Underinsurance is motor vehicle insurance that protects you if the person that causes the accident does not have enough coverage. Therefore, in Rhode Island, you could collect Workers' Compensation benefits, compensation from the person that caused the collision (third-party liability lawsuit), and also file a claim against any applicable underinsurance coverage. There are liens and set offs that partially restrict these three recoveries, but it is extremely important that you be aware of your rights as an injured worker under these circumstances.
The came recovery is permitted in Massachusetts with the exception of underinsurance. In Massachusetts you can collect Workers Compensation benefits or compensation from the person that causes the collision (third-party liability lawsuit), but the ability to collect underinsurance is restricted based-upon your employer's vehicle underinsurance. As a Massachusetts injured worker, you cannot collect underinsurance from your employer's vehicle if you collect Workers Compensation. Certain and specific other household policies of underinsurance may apply however.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident that would qualify you for Workers' Compensation and other benefits as described above, it is important that you obtain the services of an experienced RI or MA Workers' Compensation attorney. Karns & Kerrison has the experience and determination to help you navigate the process of filing your Workers' Compensation claim, and help you discover all of the benefits you may be entitled to receive. Contact the office today at (888) 281-3100 for an appointment for a free consultation.