Workers Comp for an Auto Accident

When most people think of workers’ compensation, they think of compensation for injuries sustained on the job such as a machinery accident or a bad fall. Nowadays, using a company vehicle to perform work-related tasks is more and more common. If part of your job description involves driving or operating a company vehicle, you should inform yourself about how to get work comp for a car accident.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation

While workers’ compensation rules differ from state to state, most often, if you have sustained injuries that are work-related, you are owed workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can cover a portion of or your entire medical expenses and lost wages due to missed work as a result of the injury.

What is Respondeat Superior?

The legal doctrine of respondeat superior covers the relationship between an employer and their employee that drives a company vehicle. This doctrine states that employers are legally responsible for their employee’s actions while they are acting under the umbrella of their employment. If an employee gets injured or experiences property damage while operating the company vehicle, the employer is obligated to pay for the injuries and property damage.

An employee is acting under the umbrella of their employment when driving a company vehicle to make deliveries, running a work-related errand, driving other employees for reasons that are work-related, work-related travel time, and driving to and from job sites. In most cases, if the employee is in an accident on their own time such as driving to and from work or when on a break, these incidents are not considered work-related.

What if the Employee is at Fault?

The aforementioned respondeat superior doctrine applies specifically to instances involving an employee being in an auto accident while driving a company car. In the event that that employee has caused another person’s injury or property damage, this is known as third-party involvement and both the employer and employee can be liable for damages and injuries. Third-party involvement can include the employee’s passengers, other drivers, or bystanders. However, in most cases, the employer’s liability insurance saves the employer from having to pay damages to any third parties.

What Does Compensatory Damages Cover?

Most often, compensatory damages cover out-of-pocket expenses, medical bills, lost wages due to recovery time, any added expenses due to pain and suffering. The employer’s liability insurance doesn’t just protect the employee from paying any damages, if an injury lawsuit is brought against the employee by a third party, the employer is obligated to pay for any relevant legal fees. Therefore, the employee is protected against third-party actions even when they are at fault, and the employee might even qualify for workers’ comp if they were also injured by the accident, regardless of whether or not it was their fault; this is known as a ‘no-fault’ system.

The one exception is if the employee was operating the company vehicle while committing a crime or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This type of situation can constitute a criminal action, and in that case, the employee has the right to refuse the indemnification of their employee, as well as workers’ comp for medical bills, lost wages, etc.

If you are considering taking on a job that involves driving a company vehicle or spending lots of time on the road doing work-related activities, you can take comfort that there are very few instances where you will not be compensated if you are involved in an auto accident. As long as it does not involve a criminal action or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the no-fault system of worker’s comp will come through.

What Qualifies as a “Wrongful Death?”

Losing a loved one is tough, especially when it comes to our closest family members. Recovering from the death of a spouse or parent can be some of the most trying times, and it can take time to deal with that grief.

However, you might be concerned that your loved one didn’t just pass away. You believe that they were killed by another person’s negligence, and you want to file a wrongful death claim.

However, what do you need to know about wrongful death before you begin? What qualifies as “wrongful death,” and how can it help you and your surviving loved ones? Before you begin your wrongful death claim, contact wrongful death attorneys with experience and make sure that your claim is a strong one.

Negligence Leading to Death

First, what is wrongful death? Sometimes, we might be concerned that another person’s death is due to the recklessness and lack of concern another person has toward the deceased’s safety. They make poor decisions, and the deceased was the one who had to suffer for it.

Showing that the other person acted in a negligent fashion will be one of the first steps of your wrongful death claim, and you’ll need to prove that they were negligent before you’re able to proceed.

In some cases, they could have even been malicious on purpose. For example, let’s say your loved one was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and they were a victim of gun violence. Because the other person did not act with their safety in mind, they would be held responsible for their death.

Breach of Duty

Proving that they should have protected the safety of the deceased will also be important. Similar to negligence, a breach of duty happens when a person who should take care with our safety does not act in an appropriate manner. On the road, this means that other drivers should be vigilant, follow the laws, and ensure that they’re taking reasonable measures to avoid an accident.

A doctor would have a duty to act with reasonable quickness to protect your health where possible. If they fail to diagnose a dangerous illness in your loved one, for example, because they didn’t take reasonable measures to examine your loved one, that would be a breach of duty.

Proving Cause of Death

However, it’s not enough to just show that the person in question was negligent. For example, a speeding driver may have been negligent, but the fatal accident could have been caused by a road hazard or a deer crossing the road. So, you’ll need to prove they caused your loved one’s death.

Your lawyer will need to show that the deceased would still be with us if not for the actions of the defendant. So, in the example above, they’d need to show that the speeding driver caused the accident by losing control of their vehicle and hitting your family member. Had they not been speeding, then, they wouldn’t have lost control and killed your loved one.

Damages for the Surviving Family

After the grief and pain your family has suffered, you deserve compensation for the claim. These damages should compensate you for both physical and emotional losses. For example, your damages might include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of companionship
  • Burial expenses
  • Pain and suffering after the loss
  • Loss of income

Losing a loved one is tough, but with the right attorneys on your side, you could receive the compensation you need to move on. Their burial costs alone might high, which means more debt and expenses during this difficult time.

It’s painful, but you and your family will have a chance to recover after your family member’s wrongful death. If you’re still not certain that your claim qualifies as wrongful death, reach out to an attorney for help fighting for the compensation you and your family need.

Strange Washington State Laws

Every state has a couple of unique laws that leave people scratching their heads and wondering where it came from. Some are antiquated, based on issues that no longer apply, and may no longer be enforced. However, these laws are still part of the state code.

When it comes to odd laws, Washington state has its own strange statutes. While you might not need to speak to the lawyers in Tacoma, WA, for these laws, it’s better to know what to expect when you’re dealing with your state’s strange laws. So, before you go Bigfoot-hunting or even walk around with a cold, check out some of your state’s strangest laws.

Vending Machine Placement

Before you go placing your vending machine wherever you feel like placing it, note that vending machines can’t go just anywhere. Washington state legislation specifically forbids residents from attaching these machines to utility poles.

These aren’t the only items not allowed on utility poles. Ads and posters shouldn’t be placed on these as well. If you’re charged with placing one of these items on a utility pole, you could be charged with a misdemeanor.

This is to protect the safety of the utility workers, even if vending machines aren’t the first thing we might think about putting on a utility pole. By banning anything that might be placed on these poles, however, the workers can avoid some common hazards that make an already-dangerous job especially lethal.

Keep Your Cold at Home

Of course, you might not have done something so serious. Instead, you might just have a little cold or a mild case of the flu. You’re sick with something contagious, and you needed to run out for a little more medication for your illness. Unfortunately, you could get in trouble for this.

Contagious diseases are no laughing matter in Washington state. The state places a special emphasis on protecting its residents from contagious diseases by making it a misdemeanor to expose your fellow citizens to your illness.

This does protect many people who may not have strong immune systems to protect their health, which prevents breakouts of disease. Since you also already know about the illness, they could claim that you were knowingly endangering other people’s health.

So, while it’s tough to get someone else to bring your medicine or tissues, especially if you live alone, it’s best to try. Sneezing and sniffling is frowned upon anyway, so play it safe when you’re suffering from an illness.

Get Help with Washington State Laws

When it comes to odd laws, you can expect plenty from any state. You might already know a few of your state’s weirdest laws, and many sites and books are devoted to these strange laws.

Unfortunately, you might have also been injured because someone else didn’t follow state laws, weird or not. When this happens, you’ll need to protect yourself and get compensation after an accident or injury.

If you believe someone broke one of Washington’s laws, and you’re the one who’s suffered for it, reach out for help today. An attorney can review the case and make sure you get the care you need after an injury.

Questions to Ask Your Prospective Lawyer

Before hiring legal representation, you’d do well to make a list of questions to ask your prospective lawyer to make sure you’re hiring the right person for the job. Hiring an attorney can be a challenge for the average layman, especially if you’ve never worked with an attorney before. By asking questions, you learn more about an attorney’s background, experience and level of expertise to narrow your choices to those who are best qualified for the job. The best lawyers are those that welcome questions and are willing to establish an open line of communications with their clients from the start.

Here’s a list of some of the most pertinent questions to ask your prospective lawyer before signing him or her on.

  • What is your background and overall experience in this field? Have you handled similar cases to mine in the last few years?

Your attorney should have ample experience with cases like yours and be able to provide you with references of similar cases he’s handled in the past. Like doctors, attorneys specialize in different areas. Depending on the seriousness of your case, you want someone who’s an expert in his or her field.

  • What results can I realistically expect from this case and how long might it last?

The best attorneys will be up front with their clients in explaining the legalities of their situation, what to expect from their case and how long it may last. This helps you prepare for the long haul. Be leery of lawyers who boast of victory before even starting. Your attorney should have confidence of success without guaranteeing what he may not be able to deliver.

  • Are there other alternatives to resolving this situation?

As a client, you should be fully aware of all your options. If your attorney doesn’t volunteer alternative ways of resolving your situation, be sure to ask him. Good lawyers will have their client’s best interests at heart which may involve recommending ways to settle your affairs out of court.

  • How will you inform me of developments?

Good attorneys often have several cases going at the same time, keeping them busy from morning to night. At the same time, they should respect their client’s need to be kept informed concerning their situation. You and your attorney should establish a system for keeping you in the loop so you are updated on problems or progress concerning your case.

  • Will you personally be handling my case or will it be assigned to others?

If the case is to be assigned to a junior attorney or paralegal, you should know in advance. You should also expect to pay less for work done by less-experienced staff members.

  • What do you charge for your services and what are your billing procedures?

Attorney costs vary depending on who you hire and the specifics of your case. You should discuss fee arrangements in advance so you can be prepared to meet this financial obligation. Some attorneys bill their clients monthly; others bill once services are done. It’s important to know your attorney’s fees and billing procedures up front. You can even ask your attorney for a general estimate of what the case will cost.

Knowing what questions to ask your prospective lawyer can make it easier to determine who would be the best candidate for the job.

Important Utah Injury Laws

When you’re involved in an accident, you need time and compensation to deal with your injuries. However, you must have more than the fact of your injury to get that compensation you need.

A personal injury claim may be the best way to get the compensation you need for your injuries, but you’ll also need to consider the laws that will affect your claim and how much you could receive. Without the right guidance, you could have your claim devalued or dismissed.

When you’re preparing for an injury suit, keep these following laws in mind, so you’re prepared before you begin.

Time Limits on Your Claim

First, keep in mind that youhave a limited time to file a claim for your injuries. This varies from state to state, so remember that, for Utah accidents, you’ll have four years to file a claim for most injury claims.

Four years might seem like plenty of time, but that’s not always the case. When dealing with a severe injury, it can take time to recover, and even after your recovery, you might now experience  impairments that make it more difficult to handle your case.

While you might have four years to prepare your claim, don’t wait too long to begin. You’ll want as much time as possible to work on your claim, so act now.  

Fault in Utah

Once you’ve filed your claim, you must prepare to do more than prove your injury and your need for compensation. You must also show that the other person was at fault, and you weren’t to blame for the accident.

Utah recognizes “comparative fault,” which accounts for the fact that most accidents aren’t the fault of just one person. Often, the other person proves negligent to a degree, and unable to avoid the accident. For example, if you adjusted your radio and another person hit you, the court may find you somewhat at fault because your attention left the road.

While it’s common for accidents to have happened because of multiple reasons, you must avoid taking the blame for your injury. If you don’t, that percentage reduces your compensation. So, if you’re slip-and-fall injuries cost $5,000, but you were 20 percent at fault for the accident, you receive just 80 percent of your compensation, or $4,000.

Suing the Government

If you’re considering filing a lawsuit against a government entity, you’ll need help getting the full compensation you deserve. These cases often prove difficult, so consider getting help for these cases.

For example, you have a limited time to file. While you must file most Utah injury claims within four years, you must file a claim against the government within a year of the accident. So, if your injury occured on government-owned property, if a government vehicle hit you, or ill-repaired road hazards caused your injury, reach out for help soon.  

A Lawyer Can Fight Back

It’s unfortunate, but when you’re seeking a claim for your injuries, there’s a chance that you’ll run into plenty of laws could hurt your claim. This makes getting the full compensation you deserve difficult. But, you don’t have to fight alone. Speaking to one of the many personal injury lawyers in Utah could help you get the compensation you need for your recovery.

If you’re struggling to remember these laws or fight back for your claim, reach out for the help you need. An injury can haunt you for some time, but by remembering these laws, you’ll have a chance to recover from your losses.