If your job requires you to travel away from your home office for any period of time, no matter how little, you may be all too familiar with the experience of navigating a new, unfamiliar city from behind the wheel of a vehicle. Whether in your own car after a road trip or while using a rental vehicle following a plane ride, the possibility of being injured in a car accident while away from home is a scary reality that many people deal with on a regular basis.
If you travel as part of your employment, it’s important that you know what to do after being in a car accident when traveling for work. While most work-related injuries (even those that occur when traveling) are covered under Illinois workers’ compensation, third-party liability may create an avenue for you to recover additional compensation for losses related to mental anguish, pain and suffering, and other damages typically not covered by workers’ comp.
Steps To Take After Being in a Car Accident When Traveling for Work
The steps you take after being injured in an accident while traveling for work matter. While the order in which you take the following steps is not necessarily fixed, we at Prince Law Firm recommend that you do the following after a work-related car accident while out of town:
- Seek medical care – Your health, safety, and wellbeing should always be your number one priority. Call 911 while still at the scene of the accident and allow yourself to be evaluated by emergency responders. You may require immediate transportation to a nearby hospital. If you do not, consider being evaluated at an emergency room or urgent care facility as soon as possible after your accident. When you return home, schedule an appointment with your regular physician.
- File a police report – If you were involved in an auto accident, contact police from the scene of the crash immediately. Requirements for police car accident reports vary from state to state, and ignorance of the law is not a viable excuse for violating it. Call and have an officer respond to the scene to make a report, even if you are unsure if it is necessary. A good rule of thumb is to notify the police any time there is property damage, injury, or death.
- Notify the rental car agency – If you were driving a rental car at the time of the accident, notify the agency from which you rented it as soon as possible. If you’re unsure what number to call, look for a sticker listing a number to call in case of an emergency. While not every rental agency uses these, they are most often found inside the vehicle’s glove compartment. Follow the instructions listed on the sticker and any directions given to you by the rental car agency when you speak on the phone.
- Exchange information with the other driver – Every driver involved in the accident should exchange information, including names, contact information, phone numbers, insurance information, license plate numbers, and driver’s license numbers. If you were driving as part of your employment, provide the name and contact information for your employer, too.
- Take photos of the accident scene – If possible, take as many pictures and videos of the accident scene as possible. If you’re traveling from a different city in Illinois or another state, you may not have the time or resources to return to the accident scene and document evidence. The pictures and videos you take in the immediate aftermath of the crash may capture evidence that is crucial for your ability to recover compensation for your injuries, losses, and more. Take more pictures than you think you’ll need—you and your attorney can go through these images and files to determine what is relevant.
- Contact your employer – Once you have taken care of everything at the scene of the accident and have sought necessary medical care, inform your employer of the accident. Let them know that you’ve sought medical attention and if you appear to be suffering from any injuries. Illinois law requires that you report a work-related injury within 45 days of its onset. However, since workers’ compensation claims are notoriously complex, the sooner you take action, the better.
When you’re ready, contact an Illinois lawyer who specializes in accident-related injuries. The experience and guidance of a knowledgeable lawyer will be an invaluable asset as you navigate potentially two complicated legal processes—filing both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim.
Who Is Responsible for a Car Accident When Traveling for Work?
When you are injured through the course of your employment, you are typically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for your accident, injuries, or illness. By maintaining workers’ compensation insurance coverage, your employer is shielded from liability, meaning that you cannot sue them for the harm you’ve suffered.
Workers’ compensation benefits will vary depending on the type and extent of your injury and whether you can work in a reduced capacity during your recovery or if you are unable to return to work at all. Benefits may cover:
- A portion of your lost wages
- Related medical bills
- Vocational rehabilitation
There may be other liable parties in your injury case, though. These are the individuals or entities who can be held responsible for their actions in a personal injury lawsuit, which covers a wider range of damages, including lost wages, reduced earning capacity, medical expenses, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and more.
Parties that can potentially be held liable for a work-related car accident include:
- The other driver(s)
- The rental company
- The at-fault driver’s employer
- An auto parts or vehicle manufacturer
If you believe that your injuries could have been prevented had another driver or entity exercised the necessary amount of caution and care, you may be entitled to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.
An Experienced Injury Lawyer Is Just a Call or Click Away
Prince Law Firm has the dedication, experience, and determination needed to successfully navigate complex injury claims, including those that might fall under both the umbrella of workers’ compensation and personal injury. We know what needs to be done if you were in a car accident when traveling for work and how to build a strong case on your behalf.
Our law office is conveniently located in Marion, IL, where we meet with injury victims from Marion, Carbondale, Murphysboro, Johnson County, and Williamson County. If you’ve been injured anywhere in Illinois, please contact us as soon as possible. We’ll schedule you for a completely free case evaluation at your earliest convenience.
Scheduling a free case evaluation with Prince Law Firm does not create an obligation to work with our personal injury law office.