Upland Work-Related Vehicle Accidents Attorney
Accessible Legal Representation for Victims of Work-Related Vehicle Crashes
Our team has earned a reputation as compassionate, skillful, and efficient legal advocates on behalf of auto injury victims. You can trust that if you become a client with our firm, we will always be upfront with you about our experience, business practices, approach to client representation, and our objective assessments related to your case.
There are few things more frustrating than having to second guess whether you understand what a medical or legal professional is trying to tell you. If you have questions, we will answer them. We welcome client questions because we want you to have all the information you need in order to make informed decisions. Our approach to representation is grounded in serving the needs of the client. Allow us to explain how this approach impacts our clients practically during a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation session.
Workers’ Compensation – An Introduction
Workers’ compensation is essentially an insurance system that operates at a state level. Each state in the union approaches workers’ compensation eligibility, coverage, and benefits somewhat differently. In general, workers’ compensation coverage is designed to ensure that eligible employees who suffer work-related injuries or who develop occupational illnesses are granted financial awards and services related to their medical care, occupational rehabilitation needs, and lost wages. This system also provides employers with a limited liability shield that keeps them from being sued every time that an employee is hurt or made ill while working. These twin purposes help to ensure that workers don’t have to fight for compensation every time they suffer work-related harm and that employers aren’t being hauled into court over and over again.
In California, most full-time and part-time workers (both documented and undocumented) classified as employees are eligible for workers’ compensation coverage. By contrast, if you are properly classified as an independent contractor, you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. There are pros and cons to being covered by workers’ compensation insurance, so don’t allow your ineligibility for these benefits to cause you to panic. With that said, if you should rightfully be classified as an employee and should be rightfully eligible for these benefits, please alert our legal team during your free consultation. Misclassification of independent contractors is a common problem and one that should be addressed if it is affecting your ability to access benefits to which you are rightfully entitled.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Work-Related Collisions
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This is great news for those workers who are eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits, as it means that they will be compensated for their work-related injuries regardless of what caused those injuries or whether or not they were at fault for them. The major exceptions to this rule involve injuries that were sustained as a result of altercations that the injured workers requesting benefits instigated, injuries sustained while workers were drunk, high, or otherwise impaired on the job, and injuries sustained on purpose in an effort to commit workers’ compensation fraud. Essentially, this means that you can collect workers’ compensation benefits for work-related crashes if you were not driving while impaired if you did not crash your vehicle on purpose and if you weren’t instigating a road rage incident at the time you were injured.
Personal Injury Options for Work-Related Crashes
If you are an independent contractor, you work for an especially small company, or you work in a specialized industry exempt from workers’ compensation coverage requirements, you may file a personal injury lawsuit in the wake of your work-related crash. For this lawsuit to be successful, you’ll need to prove that a third party directly caused your injuries as a result of negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous conduct. If you are ineligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may sue any third party that meets these criteria, including the company for which you provide work-related services.
When Can Both Claims Be Filed Regarding the Same Accident?
If you are eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits, you may simultaneously pursue a workers’ comp claim and a personal injury claim under limited circumstances. While you may not sue your employer for anything that your employer may have done to directly contribute to the cause of your crash, you may sue a third party other than your employer that meets the criteria listed above. If you are unsure of whether one or both of these options applies to your circumstances, don’t panic. We will explore all legal options relevant to your situation during your free consultation.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
In addition to pursuing workers’ compensation benefits and/or a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to an insurance payout from a company that insures your vehicle and/or a company that insures other vehicles involved in your crash. Refrain from speaking with insurance representatives until you have attended your free consultation. Insurance claims adjusters are notorious for trying to speak with accident victims before those individuals have had a chance to explore their legal options and seek experienced representation. During these initial communications, these adjusters tend to place accident victims in positions to unintentionally undermine the overall value of their claim. Insurance representatives take this approach to better safeguard the bottom line of the companies they work for.
In speaking with an experienced attorney before you return communications from insurance representatives, you’ll place yourself in the best possible position to receive a fairly valued and promptly paid insurance claim or claims. Our team is happy to negotiate with insurance representatives on your behalf to better guarantee that you receive the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
Considering Settlement Offers
If you have already been offered a settlement, do not sign any settlement-related paperwork until our legal team has been given the opportunity to review it on your behalf. Settlements are generally offered by those responsible for causing harm. They make these offers in an effort to avoid costly litigation and potentially to avoid paying surviving family members the full amount of compensation to which they are due. As a result, it is critically important to avoid signing your rights away, as the settlement terms offered to you may be unfair or undervalued. Once we have reviewed your settlement paperwork, you will be empowered to make an informed choice about whether to accept that offer or to reject it.
If a Loved One Has Died in a Work-Related Crash
If a loved one has lost their life due to injuries sustained in a work-related motor vehicle crash, you and/or other eligible surviving loved ones may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation death benefits. These benefits offer significant compensation paid in installments to eligible dependents. If your loved one was eligible for workers’ compensation benefits when they were driving for work-related purposes and crashed, workers’ compensation death benefits should be made available regardless of whose fault the crash was. In addition, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim in order to receive compensation for your financial losses related to your loved one’s death. If your loved one was alive and in pain for a period of time before they succumbed to their injuries, you may also be able to file a survival action to compensate for the pain and suffering that was caused before your loved one died.
Staying Off Social Media
Until all elements of your legal situation have been resolved, be cautious when posting on social media and when commenting on others’ social media activity. Even if your privacy settings are strict, insurance claims adjusters, opposing counsel, and others who may have a stake in your case could choose to scour social media for evidence that your injuries are not as severe as you have claimed that they are. Even something as innocuous as posting a photo of you playing with your kids could potentially be used as evidence to justify the devaluation, rejection, or a defense against your claim. Therefore, if you choose to engage on social media while your case remains active, be extremely careful in how you approach it.
Preparing for Your Free Consultation
In advance of your consultation, please write down any and all questions that you may have about your legal situation and about our firm’s approach to representation. Writing your questions down seems like a straightforward task but many accident victims overlook this critical step and end up spending much of their consultation time trying to remember what it was they wanted to ask our legal team. In addition, please gather insurance information, a copy of your accident report, names and contact information for any witnesses and others involved in your crash, photos and videos taken at the scene, and any other documentation that will better help us understand exactly what happened to cause your injuries. If we have access to details about your crash during the consultation phase of your legal journey, will be better placed to provide you with a personalized and objective analysis regarding all of the legal options available to you and the relative strengths and weaknesses of your case.
If you have recently suffered injuries due to a work-related auto accident, it is important to seek legal guidance as soon as you possibly can. Some of your opportunities for legal and financial recourse are more time-sensitive than others are, so you could unintentionally do yourself and your family’s financial situation a disservice by waiting too long to speak with an attorney about your options.
Our firm offers confidential, risk-free, no-cost consultations to all auto accident victims because we believe that everybody who has been hurt in a crash deserves to understand their rights and opportunities under the law. If you have not yet scheduled a free consultation with our knowledgeable and dedicated legal team, please do so by calling our firm directly or by using our convenient online request form. We look forward to meeting with you.