A semi truck driver suffered injuries in a crash allegedly caused by a drunken driver on Highway 314 recently. According to the Montana Highway Patrol, an automobile tried to pass the semi, which was pulling two trailers full of coal, on a curve. The car ran into a guardrail. The semi then either hit the car or crashed trying to avoid it; the Highway Patrol says it isn’t sure which.
The crash caused 38 tons of coal to spill onto the roadway. The driver of the semi, as well as three occupants of the car, suffered injuries and received treatment at a Sheridan, Wyoming hospital.
In a situation like this the truck driver will probably be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if he was employed by someone else. Employees are entitled to collect workers’ compensation benefits from their employer even if the employer was not at fault. The tradeoff is that benefits are less than what can be recovered in a civil lawsuit where fault is proven. The benefits include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and temporary and permanent disability.
In a case like this, where the fault of a third party contributed to the accident, the injured worker can also bring a civil lawsuit against that party. Where there is third party liability, the injured worker can recover damages for pain and suffering and other losses that are not covered by workers’ compensation. In most cases some of the recovery will also go to partially reimburse the employer or its workers’ compensation insurer for the benefits it paid.
Source: dailyjournal.net, “Montana Highway Patrol: Drunken driver to blame for crash that spilled 38 tons of coal,” Nov. 8, 2013