What Happens if I’m in a Car Accident at Work?

Many people have to drive in the course of their employment. Whether you’re on your way to a lunch meeting, a job site, or making a delivery, a car accident can happen all the same. If you’re involved in a car accident while on the job in Nova Scotia, there are a few important factors to think about that don’t usually arise in a car accident that happens on personal time.

When you’re in a car accident in Nova Scotia, whether on business or personal time, the usual recommendations remain the same. Make sure to assess yourself and any other occupants in the car for injuries. Notify the appropriate emergency response teams and follow their direction. If it’s safe to leave your vehicle, do so very cautiously and try to ascertain if anyone else has sustained injury. If possible, and if it’s safe in the circumstances, exchange relevant information such as names, phone numbers, and insurance information. You should also notify your insurance company of the accident.

However, some additional steps need to be taken if you’re in a car accident while working. These include notifying your employer of the accident and determining whether the Workers Compensation regime (commonly referred to as WCB) is engaged.

Many employers in Nova Scotia are WCB covered. This means that if an employee is injured on the job, certain benefits are available such as income supplements and medical benefits. If these benefits are available to you following an accident, you should talk to your employer about your immediate medical situation and work with them on setting up a WCB claim.

While WCB provides income supplementation and funding for medical care, it does not provide compensation that you would typically receive in a car accident claim through the Court system (such as pain and suffering).

Also, it is extremely important to know that while you’re on an active WCB claim as a result of injuries that happened during your employment, you are barred by law to make a private claim against a negligent driver through the Nova Scotia Court system (known as a “Tort Claim” or a “Third Party Claim”). However, you have the option to elect out of WCB coverage if you wish to bring a Tort Claim to recover compensation for your losses. This is a very important decision with many factors to consider, and with very important timelines/deadlines.

Moreover, there are certain situations where if you’re covered by WCB and the party responsible for your injuries is also covered by WCB, you may not be able to make a Tort claim against them. There are exceptions to this rule if your injuries were caused through the use and operation of a motor vehicle. Your ability to make a claim through the Court system will depend on the unique circumstances of your car accident.

This is a very complex area of law and whether you intend to make a tort claim for compensation or not, it is extremely important that you discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Given that there are deadlines that must be observed in this process, it is always in your best interests to contact a personal injury lawyer in Nova Scotia as soon as possible after being in a car accident on the job.

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