When you are injured in an auto accident that was not your fault, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries from the at-fault party. Similarly, when you are injured on the job, you are typically able to collect workers’ compensation benefits, though the available benefits are usually quite different. What happens, however, when the two scenarios are combined, and you are injured in a car accident in the course of your employment? The answer, as you might expect, depends heavily on the exact circumstances of your situation.
This dangerous combination, along with a few other important legal elements, seriously injured a maintenance worker at Mitchell College in 2012. The case was complex enough to require several attempts at mediation before a settlement was finally reached, netting the injured worker $735,000 in damages, just before a trial was scheduled to begin this month.
According to the worker’s attorneys, he and a female coworker were employed by a company contracted to perform maintenance duties on the campus of Mitchell College. In June 2012, the two were gathering trash and hauling it to a trash compactor, using a pickup truck owned by the college. The man backed the truck up the compactor, got out, and began putting full bags of trash into the compactor. As he finished, he heard the truck’s engine noise increase. He turned to see the truck suddenly in reverse, being driven, inexplicably, by his coworker. Unable to get out of the way, he was pinned between the truck and the compactor, breaking his left leg in several places. Recovery required surgery and months of physical therapy, and the man was eventually found to have a 25 percent permanent partial disability.
Employer or Third-Party Liability?
Under Connecticut law, the worker could have simply filed a claim for workers’ compensation through his employer. Most injured workers are not permitted to sue their employers or coworkers for damages related to work injuries. In this case, however, there was an additional element: the pickup truck. According to the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured worker may be a civil suit against a fellow employee based on “the fellow employee’s negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle.” Based upon this provision in the law, the injured worker sued his coworker and Mitchell College, the owner of the vehicle involved in the incident.
To avoid trial, the insurance company for the college agreed to a $735,000 settlement for medical bills, lost wages, and permanent partial disability. Reports indicate that a claim is now pending by the insurance company against the coworker and her insurer to recover at least part of the settlement amount.
We Can Help
If you have been injured in any type of accident, it is important to know what options you may have for recovering compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Connecticut to discuss your case and to get the information you need to make an informed decision about how to proceed. Call [[phone1]] to schedule your free initial consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC, today.