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Work-related car accidents: Who pays?

Who pays when a person is injured in a work-related car accident? Workers' compensation or the insurance company of the at-fault driver?

The answer may be both. North Carolina workers' compensation pays medical and disability benefits for people who are injured on the job. However, if the other driver was at fault, the injured worker could also file a personal injury claim against the other driver's insurance company.

When is a car accident work-related?

A car accident is considered work-related if the injured person was driving as a part of his or her work duties. Examples include making a sales call on a customer, making a delivery and driving to a training event.

While a person's normal commute to and from work would not be considered "work-related," driving to an after-work company event may be. Learn more about what is a workers' compensation claim.

What benefits are available from workers' compensation?

North Carolina workers' compensation provides free medical care, weekly benefits equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage for up to 500 weeks, and mileage reimbursement for medical treatment. You have a right to these benefits whether you were at fault for the accident or not.

Workers' compensation provides additional benefits if you suffer a permanent impairment or you have physical limitations that prevent you from returning to your regular job.

What compensation is available from a personal injury claim?

The civil justice system provides compensation for losses not covered by workers compensation. Examples include the past and future lost wages not paid by workers' compensation, and damages for pain and suffering.

Under North Carolina's contributory negligence laws, you can only recover compensation if you were not partially at fault. For this reason, it's important to seek legal advice and not make any statements that could be interpreted as assigning blame to yourself (such as, "I might have been going a few miles over the speed limit."

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