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Workers' compensation: What if I cause a car accident on the job?

Imagine you're a pizza delivery person and you're driving through Lawnside traffic on the way to deliver a large order of food. Suddenly, you find yourself spinning out of control into opposing lanes of traffic. Next, you slam into a semitruck head-on.

Fortunately, you survived the incident with a broken leg, whiplash and a traumatic brain injury, but not before the semitruck pushed your car into another lane of traffic, which involved you colliding with even more vehicles. Doctors expect you to fully recover -- but now you have to pay for your costly medical bills. Even worse, the accident report says that the entire incident was your fault.

Can you receive workers' compensation insurance?

Fortunately, you may be able to pursue a workers' compensation claim to pay for your medical care and time spent unable to work. The beauty of the New Jersey workers' compensation system is the fact that it doesn't matter how the accident happened. If you suffered an injury during the course and scope of your employment -- and you're covered by workers' compensation insurance -- you can still pursue workers' compensation benefits regardless of whose fault the accident was. Even if you caused the accident because you were speeding or ran through a red light, it's likely that you can still receive benefits.

There are some limitations to this "no-fault" rule as it applies to workers' compensation claims. If you suffered an on-the-job injury because you were drunk or drugged -- or because you were engaged in criminally negligent or unlawful activity -- your workers' compensation benefits will not likely cover you.

Beware of time limitations that apply to all workers' comp claims

In the state of New Jersey, injured workers will be subject to workers' compensation statutes of limitation. These limitations apply to the amount of time you have to file your petition for benefits. In New Jersey, a worker has two years from the date of the accident -- or from the date when the worker became aware of his or her illness or injury -- within which time the worker must file a claim.

If you have suffered a job-related car accident injury, learn more about your legal rights under New Jersey workers' compensation law now.

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