Collision while on the job results in physical and mental injuries...

by John
(Abingdon, VA)

I am a delivery driver for an IV company. In September 2012, a lady pulled out in front of me while driving and I couldn't avoid her. I hit her car, totaling both automobiles, and she lost her life.

Since then I have been on anti-depressants and find it hard to deal with feeling like it was my fault. I have a meniscus tear in my knee, and I suffered a fractured sternum. I haven't had surgery on the knee at this point, I'm just taking pain medication until the pain gets gets to the point where I need surgery.

My question is, do I get a settlement from workers' comp AND the auto insurance company? Or, does only one of those companies handle all my medical bills and such? Will my mental damage and medications be included in the settlement? It's just so hard to understand all this legal mess. Any information you can give me would be appreciated.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "":

John (Abingdon, VA):

From the facts you present we will presume you had no fault (contributory or comparative fault) in the collision, and that the deceased driver was entirely at-fault. Under these circumstances you are clearly entitled to workers' compensation benefits, and more.

Virginia is a traditional liability, not a "no-fault" insurance state. As a result, the law permits you to pursue a 3rd party negligence claim against the deceased driver and her automobile insurance liability policy.

Your workers' comp insurance will cover your medical, chiropractic, and even your dental bills (if required). It will also cover your out of pocket expenses, including, but not limited to your prescription and over the counter medications, crutches, costs of transportation to and from treatment, etc. It will also cover about 2/3rds of your lost wages.

Moreover, if your injuries are determined to be disabling, you may also be entitled to a workers' compensation disability award. Unfortunately, workers' comp insurance does not cover pain and suffering, also called emotional distress.

The deceased driver's liability auto insurance should cover the same costs as enumerated above, plus an additional amount for your pain and suffering. With that said, your workers' comp company will have a right to be reimbursed by you for payments they made on your behalf, which were also paid for by the driver's liability policy (this is known as "subrogation").

Finally, in the event the deceased driver's insurance wasn't sufficient, or was non-existent, you may also have a legitimate claim under your own uninsured or underinsured automobile liability policy.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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