What Are My Legal Rights if I Was Injured in a Collision While Driving for Work in Ohio?
If you are like many people in Ohio, you spend a good part of your work day—if not your entire work day—behind the wheel. Making deliveries, driving from one jobsite to the next, and meeting with clients and customers are all common reasons why Ohio residents find themselves in the driver’s seat on the job.
Unfortunately, since so many people drive for work, work-related auto accidents are common as well.
If you have been injured in a collision while driving for work, it is important to make sure you know your legal rights. You may have multiple options for recovering your losses, and you may need to act quickly to make sure you can collect the compensation you deserve. Find out what you need to know from our Columbus workers’ compensation lawyers:
What You Need to Know After a Work-Related Auto Accident in Ohio
1. You Have the Same Legal Rights As If the Accident Happened on Your Personal Time
Even though you were working when the accident happened, you still have the same legal rights you would have if the accident happened on your personal time. This means that you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company (if the other driver was at fault), and you may have other options for recovering your losses as well.
In Ohio, all drivers are required to carry liability insurance. So, the driver who hit you should have coverage. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance under your policy, you may be able to use your coverage to secure additional financial compensation. If your accident involved a vehicle-related issue or an issue with the road, these may also provide you with additional grounds to seek a full financial recovery.
2. You May Also Have the Right to File for Workers’ Compensation
Regardless of who (or what) caused your accident, you may also have the right to file for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system in Ohio, which means that you do not need to be able to prove fault to file a claim for benefits.
To file a workers’ compensation claim, you must be classified as an employee (not an independent contractor). Our Columbus workers’ compensation lawyers can determine your employment status, and if you qualify for benefits, we can file your claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) or your employer on your behalf. If you have a claim (or multiple claims) outside of workers’ compensation, we can handle these claims as well.
3. Determining Your Legal Rights Requires a Prompt Investigation
Determining your legal rights after a work-related auto accident starts with determining the cause of the collision. This requires a prompt investigation. Once you contact us, our lawyers can investigate your accident, and then we can use the evidence that is available to determine which claim (or claims) you can file.
4. Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claims Have Different Deadlines
In Ohio, personal injury and workers’ compensation claims have different deadlines. As a general rule, you have up to two years to file a personal injury claim after an auto accident (though you should start the process as soon as possible). However, under Ohio’s workers’ compensation law, you only have one year to file a claim for benefits. Our lawyers can take all of the steps necessary to protect your legal rights, and we can take action on your behalf immediately if necessary.
5. Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claims Have Different Benefits
Why would you file a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim after a work-related auto accident? Each type of claim has different benefits. When you file a personal injury claim, you can seek just compensation for all of your accident-related losses, including:
- Doctors’ bills, prescription costs and other medical expenses
- Lost income, benefits and future earning capacity
- Pain, suffering and emotional trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The benefits available through workers’ compensation are more limited. However, as noted above, these benefits are available to eligible employees on a “no-fault” basis. As a result, even if you can’t file a personal injury claim, our Columbus workers’ compensation lawyers may still be able to help you file for:
- Medical benefits
- Temporary total disability benefits
- Permanent total disability benefits
- Permanent partial disability benefits
Medical benefits cover the costs of treating your accident-related injuries. If you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you are entitled to medical coverage until you get better or reach your “maximum medical improvement.” Disability benefits cover a portion of your lost earnings while you are unable to work or only able to work in a limited capacity.
6. Your Employer Cannot Retaliate Against You for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
A common concern among injured employees is that they will face retaliation from their employer if they file for workers’ compensation with the Ohio BWC. However, this type of retaliation is prohibited under Ohio law. Your employer cannot legally fire you, demote you or dock your pay for asserting your legal rights, and if it does, our Columbus workers’ compensation lawyers may be able to recover additional financial compensation on your behalf.
7. You Can Hire Our Columbus Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at No Out-of-Pocket Cost
Another common concern among injured workers has to do with the cost of hiring a lawyer. But hiring a lawyer to represent you after a work-related auto accident costs nothing out of pocket. At Malek & Malek Law firm, we handle all personal injury and workers’ compensation claims on a contingency-fee basis, which means we only earn a fee if we help you recover financial compensation.
Discuss Your Work-Related Auto Accident with a Lawyer at Malek & Malek Law Firm
Were you injured in an auto accident while driving for work? If so, our Columbus workers’ compensation lawyers can help you, and we encourage you to contact us promptly to learn more. For a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights, call 888-444-7440 or tell us how we can get in touch online today.