Question: I was injured in a car accident in Oregon while on the job. Is this a workers’ compensation matter or a car accident claim?

Answer:Both, but it’s complicated

Explanation:When you are driving in while working are injured as a result of a third party, you have a potential workers’ compensation claim as well as a potential claim against the bad driver. ORS 656.154; ORS 656.578.

As with all injury accidents, seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Tell your doctor you were working at the time of the car accident. Then, complete the top portion of an Oregon Workers’ Compensation 801 form. Keep a copy and ask your employer to complete and file the bottom portion of the form. Follow up with your employer to make sure the form has been filed with the workers compensation insurer.

Within a few days, your Workers’ Compensation carrier will probably send you a letter you won’t understand. The letter to expect will ask you to decide whether you want to pursue the auto accident claim. ORS 656.583(1). Should you fail to respond to this letter within 60 days, the claim is automatically assigned to the workers’ compensation insurer paying your medical bills. ORS 656.583(2). Should you elect to pursue the claim, but not initiate it within 90 days of that election, the claim would be assigned to the paying workers’ compensation insurer. ORS 656.583(2).

Lesson:Do nothing, you may get nothing. Don’t give your workers’ compensation carrier your auto accident pain and suffering claim. Work related auto accidents are really 2 claims in one and are often complicated.

Richard Rizk is a former insurance company workers compensation attorney who now represents persons injured in an accident due to the negligence of others. If you have been in a work- related auto accident, call Richard Rizk at (503) 245-5677 or email him at <ahref=”mailto:rich@rizklaw.com”>rich@rizklaw.com.