It is not uncommon to have both a workers’ compensation claim and a lawsuit for a car crash. People traveling from jobsite to jobsite and workers such as police officers and UPS drivers that are driving as part of their job almost always have both. Generally, people going to and coming from work are not covered under workers’ compensation, but there are many exceptions to that rule. Among the exceptions are where the employer provides the transportation, where the employer is required to have a vehicle as a consequence of his or her job, where a trip is both personal and work related, and where the worker has reached the employer’s premises.
Where both a workers’ compensation claims and a car crash lawsuit exist, there are multiple sources of insurance. It is typically better to collect benefits from the third-party defendant before collecting workers compensation benefits as the workers’ comp insurance carrier only gets a lien against a third-party recovery that is automatically reducible for attorney’s fees and expenses and further negotiable. However, benefits from the injured worker’s own insurance, such as PIP and uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist must be collected before workers’ comp benefits.
Collecting money in a third-party suit before filing a workers’ compensation claim could bar a workers’ comp recovery. Lawyers that only practice in either workers’ comp or automobile cases should strongly consider involving a lawyer that handles both to assist with timing.