If you were injured in a car crash while you were on the job in Iowa, you may have both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury car accident claim against the driver who hit you. To protect both claims, here are four things to keep in mind:
1. You still can file an Iowa workers’ compensation claim, even if the accident was your fault.
Iowa is a “no fault” state when it comes to workers’ compensation. That means that even if you were at fault in the crash, you can get Iowa workers’ compensation benefits.
If the car crash was not your fault, then you may be able to get compensation for your injuries in a car accident claim as well. It’s a good idea to talk to an Iowa law firm that handles both personal injury and workers’ compensation claims to understand your rights.
2. Don’t trust the workers’ compensation company if they tell you that you were not “working” at the time of your injury.
In Iowa, it is up to the injured worker to prove he or she was “in the course of” employment at the time of an injury. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to claim an employee was not “in the course of” employment when he was injured while traveling. However, many situations involving travel are covered by workers’ compensation, including:
- When the employer pays for transportation costs, such as providing a company vehicle or paying for travel expenses like mileage, fuel or a rental car;
- When the employee runs an errand for the employer’s benefit;
- If the employee is a traveling employee, Iowa’s workers’ compensation law provides fairly broad coverage.
Check with an Iowa workers’ compensation attorney before you abandon your work injury claim based on an insurance company’s denial.
3. If you were injured in a semi-truck crash while on the job, you should seek legal advice immediately.
If you have been in an accident with a semi, it is important to start collecting evidence early. Trucking companies are only required to retain evidence from the crash for a limited period of time. This can include the damaged tractor-trailer. An attorney can write a letter to the semi-truck company to make sure this evidence is preserved.
4. Do not give a recorded statement to any insurance company before speaking with an attorney who handles both car accident and work injury cases
This includes both the workers’ compensation insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. Once you give a recorded statement, you can’t change what was said—even if you made a mistake. This can lead to problems with your case down the road. We do not let our clients speak to insurance companies without an attorney from our office present.
Why You Need an Iowa Attorney Experienced in Personal Injury Claims and Workers’ Compensation Claims
I’ve mentioned a couple of times that if you are hurt in a car accident while on the job, you should speak to an attorney who handles both types of claims. Let me tell you a few reasons why.
Your Iowa Work Comp Claim and Personal Injury Claim May Overlap
First – the law that applies to Iowa workers’ compensation claims and Iowa personal injury claims are very different; however, they share one core element—in both claims, you must prove that you have been hurt in the accident. That means the evidence that must be gathered in both of your claims can overlap. If you have one attorney handling both claims, you can minimize the expense of gathering the information. Medical records and expert opinions can be used in both claims without incurring double the price.
Settling Your Claims Separately Could Lead to Less Money in Your Pocket
Another reason to hire one lawyer to handle both claims is that if you recover money in the car accident claim, Iowa law says that the workers’ compensation insurance company has a right to recoup a portion of your settlement. What they recoup is based on what the workers’ compensation company has already paid out in benefits.
If you settle your claims separately, the work comp insurance company can take its money out of your settlement, leaving you with very little compensation. An experienced Iowa workers’ compensation and car accident attorney can negotiate an outcome with all parties that provides fair compensation for you.
You Need an Expert in Both Workers’ Compensation and Car Accident Claims
Finally, because the proof required for these claims is different, it’s important to hire an expert in both. Our firm has published a series of free guides that explain different types of legal claims in Iowa. I suggest you request both the work injury and car accident guides. These guides, as well as several free articles on our website, provide helpful information when it comes to protecting your rights under both types of claims.
Request your copies today at FightingForFairness.com, or call our office at 1-319-774-1783.