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Posted on 09-18-2017

Driver Injured While Working - Is it a Personal Injury or Worker's Compensation Claim?

As my avid blog followers are already aware, I am a Baltimore Chiropractor with two Baltimore chiropractic clinics. In my clinics we focus on treating acute musculoskeletal injuries. We routinely treat patients with acute headache pain, acute neck pain, and acute back pain. While in some instances these presentations are insidious - meaning that the patient does not know where they come from, in many cases these injuries arise from trauma. Sometimes it is lifting a heavy bag of fertilizer while gardening and straining the lower back, in some instances it is a sports injury while play flag football causing neck stiffness, and in many cases it is acute trauma caused by a car accident in Baltimore. After nearly 10 years of practicing as a chiropractor both in Las Vegas, NV and Baltimore, MD I still enjoy the acute rehabilitation of traumatic injuries.

An issue came up late last week in my Fells Point clinic that I thought might serve as a good blog post. We had a new patient come into the office who reported to have injured while driving an errand for her boss at work. She reports that during her regularly scheduled work hours she used a company car to go to a hardware store and pick up supplies. On the way to the hardware store while stopped at a red light her work vehicle was suddenly rear-ended. To make matters more complicated, her vehicle was pushed into a vehicle in front of hers at a light.

My front desk staff is well trained to ask the appropriate questions of incoming new patients. We want to get all of the appropriate information gathering out of the way as quickly as possible so that the injured patient can focus on recovery from their injuries. In this instance, one of my newer staff members asked me if this type of injury would be considered a worker's compensation injury or if it would be considered a car accident injury. It's a good question, obviously, since it involved a car accident while working.

The answer is fairly straight forward - in this case, it is both a personal injury and a worker's compensation injury. That is, when it comes to getting their injuries paid for, this patient has rights both under a personal injury (auto accident) claim and a worker's compensation claim.

This patient had numerous questions. Which forms should she fill out? With which insurance company? Who should she talk to? Who shouldn't she talk to? What are her timelines for filling out paperwork? The list went on and on...

I'm not in the business of giving out legal advice since I am not an attorney. We recommended that the patient speak with an attorney to discuss her particular situation. Interestingly, she told us that she had an attorney that she had represent her for an auto accident injury several years in the past. When she called and spoke to this office about her new injuries she was told that the lawyer did not want to represent her since it was both a worker's compensation claim and a personal injury claim and the law office did not handle worker's compensation claims. I was able to give her a few names of practices locally that handle both areas of law regularly and the patient decided to schedule a consultation with one for early this week.

Ultimately the practices of personal injury (auto accident) law and worker's compensation law are complex and ever changing. While I am pretty familiar with both I wouldn't presume to advise a patient on what to do. In this case we were able to find someone who could answer her questions and make her comfortable so that she could start on the road to healing.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured as a result for an auto accident whether or not you were working, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help you start feeling better today.

Dr. Gulitz

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