If you are injured in a car accident while performing your job duties, New York’s workers’ compensation program should provide benefits to pay for your medical care and help with your loss of income while you are recovering. Depending on the circumstances, your own no-fault car insurance policy may provide you with benefits as well. The fact you collect workers’ compensation benefits does not necessarily prevent you from also collecting benefits from your car insurance provider.
There is a catch, however. Your car insurance benefits may be reduced.
Wages and disability benefits
Workers’ compensation generally divides benefits into two main categories. These are benefits that cover medical and rehabilitative care and benefits that help with the loss of income while the person is unable to return to work. The latter category is known as disability benefits. If the person is temporarily unable to return to work, they are considered temporarily disabled.
The particulars of disability benefits are complex, but generally speaking they give temporarily disabled workers a percentage of their base salary for up to 26 weeks. If the worker is still disabled after that time, they will likely need a different type of benefit.
Many no-fault car insurance policies also provide temporary disability benefits that are based on a percentage of the policyholder’s salary. These policies typically have an upper limit.
Imagine that Bob is injured in a car accident while he is driving for work. He is temporarily disabled, and so he is not receiving his salary of about $2,500 per month. Because the accident happened in the course of his employment, he is able to collect disability benefits through workers’ compensation. These provide him with about $1,600 per month.
Bob also collects benefits under the no-fault insurance policy that covers the car he was driving. This policy promises to cover Bob’s lost wages up to $2,000 per moth. But because Bob is already receiving $1,600 per month through workers’ compensation, the car insurance policy will pay him only the remaining $400 per month to bring his total wage replacement up to the $2,000.
It can be frustrating to try to work your way through the workers’ compensation system and argue with insurance providers, especially when you are still in pain from an injury. Still, a long bout of disability can be financially devastating. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help you maximize the amount your receive in benefits.