If I was in a car accident at work can I get paid by the other driver if my employer paid me worker’s compensation benefits? Yes, you can have a personal injury case in Wisconsin against the other driver who caused the car accident at work, even if you make a workers compensation claim at same time. If workers comp pays benefits for time missed from work and to the doctors and hospital for medical bills, it has a right to get paid back out of the car accident case but its under a formula in the Wisconsin statutes, Sec. 102.29, which guarantees a recovery for the injured worker regardless of the amount paid by workers compensation. Many law firms handle automobile accident cases, far fewer that handle worker’s compensation cases, and there are very few who have extensive experience with both automobile accident and worker’s compensation cases. There is an interplay between the two systems and it makes sense to have representation who knows their way around both in order to maximize your recovery.
One significant difference is in the measure of damages or money available as a remedy for the injured worker. In a car accident, pain and suffering damages are payable for the actual pain and suffering caused by the collision. Workers compensation does not cover pain and suffering. Workers comp covers medical bills and a percentage of lost wages, but it does not at all compensate for the intangible or what are called non-economic losses endured due to an accident.
Some people worry that pursuing a car accident case will somehow negatively affect their entitlement to workers compensation benefits or anger their employer or workers compensation insurance adjuster. Actually, quite the opposite is usually the case. The workers comp insurance company wants you to pursue the car accident claim because they benefit by getting paid back some of the money they have spent on the claim for medical bills and TTD and/or PPD benefits.
There are some cases where the injured worker may be better off not pursuing workers compensation benefits but only the car accident case. This is rare and depends if there is other health insurance available to pay medical bills that may have a lower subrogation or reimbursement percentage than the workers compensation formula. However, workers comp is generally primary with a conceded work-related car accident.
McCormick Law attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin represent people injured in a car accident at work because we have extensive experience in both motor vehicle accidents and workers compensation cases. Generally speaking, the time to call us with questions about the interplay between a car accident case and a workers compensation claim is sooner rather than later.