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Can a car accident lead to workers' compensation benefits?

Imagine for a moment that your job requires you to drive to and from job sites. One day, while on the job, you are involved in a serious motor vehicle accident and suffer serious injuries. Did you know that an on-the-job accident such as this qualifies you for workers’ compensation benefits? Would you know to file a claim?

Though some of our California readers may not realize this, the above scenario happens more often than people think. And in a number of cases, workers did not know that they qualified for benefits until some time had elapsed after the crash. In this week’s blog post though we hope to clear up this confusion by explaining how a motor vehicle accident could lead to workers’ compensation benefits.

According to our state’s Department of Industrial Relations, workers’ compensation provides benefits to a person who has suffered a work-related injury. If your job requires you to operate a motor vehicle on the roadways and you suffer an injury during work hours, this counts as a work-related injury.

It’s important to point out though that there is a limited amount of time in which you may report your injury before you lose your right to benefits. Here in California, that time window is 30 days after suffering an injury.

Because it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact start date of a gradual or slow-developing condition, workers are encouraged to report their injury or illness as soon as they suspect or discover that it was work related. This can mitigate problems when filing a claim and accessing your benefits.

Although some people may be hesitant to report their injury for fear of losing their job, not filing a report could have far more damaging repercussions. That person could miss out on valuable financial benefits that can not only help pay for medical treatments but can offset wage loss due to missed work as well, which is something many of our readers would not want to happen to them.

Source: The State of California Department of Industrial Relations, “I was injured at work,” March 2013, Accessed July 30, 2014

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