How does workers’ compensation come into play when a worker is struck by a car while walking? What if an employee accidentally hits a pedestrian?
Certain jobs place people and moving vehicles in close proximity. Road workers, parking lot attendants, postal workers and dog walkers are just a few examples. Occasionally, accidents happen in and around workplaces when a car hits a pedestrian. The legal challenges that can arise in such circumstances can be confusing for all involved.
If a car strikes a worker while on the job, the worker may be entitled to compensation from 2 different systems. If the employee is the pedestrian who was hit by a car while on the job, then they are generally covered through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
In addition, the injured worker may be able to sue the at-fault driver and obtain further compensation in civil court. However, pedestrian accidents in civil court often require extra time and legal resources to pursue.
And then there’s the flipside:
What if an employee driving for work hits a pedestrian—are they at fault or will their employer be liable?
In this article, we’ll discuss what generally happens when a pedestrian accident and workers’ compensation intersect, as well as how to determine when a third-party personal injury claim may be possible.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim for a hit-and-run injury
Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws generally allow most employees to receive benefits if they sustain an injury while at work or otherwise performing work duties. Workers in Georgia are required to notify their employer of a workplace injury within 30 days of the date the injury occurs.
In addition to notifying their employer, workers who wish to receive workers’ compensation benefits are required to file their claim within 1 year of the date of injury. Therefore, the first thing an injured worker should do is contact the police to report the accident and immediately notify his or her employer about the injury.
Your next call should be to a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney to talk about your rights.
Filing a personal injury claim for a pedestrian accident at work
If a worker is hit by a car while walking at work, the individual may also decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver or any third party who may have been at fault for the worker’s injury. There are several parties that may be liable for a pedestrian accident:
- A negligent or reckless driver
- A property owner (if improperly maintained pavement or overgrown vegetation obstructed the driver’s view)
- A vehicle manufacturer or auto shop (if a mechanical defect in the vehicle caused the accident)
An experienced work injury lawyer will investigate the case and obtain all the necessary facts to determine who is liable in the interest of maximizing compensation for the injured worker.
Georgia’s personal injury statute of limitations generally requires injured parties who wish to file a personal injury claim to do so within 2 years of the date the injury occurred.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury cases, and which type you should pursue.
What if an employee hits a pedestrian while driving for their job?
Whether driving a company car or a personal vehicle, employers may be liable if their employee hits a pedestrian while working. If a worker is involved in a pedestrian accident, he or she should remain at the scene and contact the police to document the incident and facilitate the exchange of contact information between both parties.
When contacting the police, it is also a good idea to request emergency medical personnel to assist the pedestrian in receiving immediate medical attention. Next, the employee should let his or her employer know the details of the accident.
If the employee was driving his or her personal vehicle to perform work duties at the time of the accident, the employee should also notify his or her personal insurance company of the accident.
If the worker was driving a company car at the time of the accident, his or her employer will likely handle notifying their insurance company. However, the driver may be required to provide details to the insurance company regarding the accident.
Pedestrian accidents while commuting to or from work
Pedestrian accidents that occur while the individual is commuting to or from work are not generally eligible for workers’ compensation. There are, however, cases that are exceptions.
For example, some employers compensate workers for their time commuting to and from work. Workers who receive compensation for their commute may be able to receive workers’ compensation if they are injured in a pedestrian accident during their commute.
In other cases, workers may be able to receive workers’ comp benefits if they are involved in an accident while running an errand or otherwise making a stop at their employer’s request during their commute to or from work. Employees who are involved in a pedestrian accident that is not covered by workers’ comp benefits may still file a civil court claim to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and possibly other damages not typically offered by workers’ comp, such as pain and suffering and punitive damages.
Legal counsel and representation for workers’ comp pedestrian accident claims
Whether you were hit by a driver while walking for work or you hit a pedestrian while driving for your job, you can benefit from professional legal counsel. At Gerber & Holder, we offer free, confidential case evaluations to help you understand your legal options.
If your case qualifies for workers’ compensation, we can guide you through filing your claim with your employer in addition to pursuing legal remedies in the civil court system. We will fight for your right to receive the compensation you need while you focus on recovery.