Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of catastrophic injury and death to persons of all ages in the United States. Many of these motor vehicle accidents happen during the workday and involve people going to and from work or completing job-related tasks. If you or an employee are injured in one of these auto accidents while you are on the clock, you or your employee are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
How does this work if you are involved in an accident that is not your fault while on the job?
Typically, workers’ compensation is the first remedy for the employee’s injuries and wage replacement. The workers’ compensation company will then subrogate from the at-fault parties insurance company.
Subrogation is a legal right that allows an insurance company to make a payment that is actually owed by another party, usually another insurance company. Once payment has been made, the insurance company can seek reimbursement from the other party.
The workers’ compensation company will place a lien on the automobile insurance company for the injuries and lost time from the employee. Depending on the severity of the case, this process can take a long time.
I’ve known of cases that can go on for two years or even longer. Most of the time, the delay is because the employee has retained an attorney to litigate the at-fault carrier for more than just his medicals.
How does this affect the employer?
If the claim and litigation drag on, the employer can be negatively affected by the workers’ compensation claim, having an adverse effect on their experience mod.
There is really no way to avoid this situation. Any time a claim goes into litigation, it delays the claim for months and sometimes years. The claim can only be resolved if the employee agrees to a settlement. Once that has been completed, the claim will begin to be finalized.