In Wisconsin, a car accident on the job is treated differently at settlement time compared to a non work-related car accident. The reason being if a person receives workers compensation benefits or workers comp pays for medical bills, then the workers compensation insurance company gets paid back according to the formula in Wisconsin Statutes Sec. 102.29. There is interplay between the workers compensation benefits available and the potential car accident damages recoverable and for this reason it is helpful if your attorney has experience or at least a working knowledge of both workers compensation and personal injury law. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident while working, be aware of this before hiring an attorney.
Workers compensation may pay immediately, including wage replacement benefits called temporary total disability (TTD). TTD benefits cover 66% of wages up to a statutory maximum. In addition, workers comp should start paying your accident related medical bills. Typically, the at fault driver’s automobile liability insurance does not pay immediately or at all until a case actually settles in a lump sum. For this reason it is often advantageous for you to accept and use the workers comp benefits, but do so with the knowledge that workers comp is going to get paid back out of the settlement funds from the at fault driver’s auto insurance. This payback or subrogation applies to all workers compensation benefits paid, including any for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.
The MVA settlement includes damages for medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, both past and future. In most cases, but not all, the MVA recovery offers more actual damages than workers compensation benefits. In any case, the Sec. 102.29 formula states that after subtracting attorney fees and costs of collection, the injured employee is entitled to one-third of the balance. Then two-thirds of the balance goes to reimburse the workers compensation insurance company. If there is enough money to pay back the workers comp company in full, then the employee gets the balance. If there is not enough to cover all the benefits and medical bills paid by the workers comp company, then what the employee received, is a credit or cushion against future workers comp benefits for this injury.
It sounds simple enough and often is, but there are sometimes choices to be made by the injured employee as to which route to take between workers compensation benefits or automobile accident damages, and it is helpful if your attorney is knowledgeable or experienced in both areas.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office attorneys get the best results in car accident on the job cases by understanding the interaction between the two systems.