Every month, a reader asks one of our sponsor legal experts about a work-related issue. These building trades law professionals respond in an Organized Labor exclusive. This month's expert is Zachariah Hansen of the Arns Law Firm. Ask Zachariah a question at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Visit The Arns Law Firm website.

I was in my company truck, and was rear-ended at a stoplight and am now injured and missing work. What am I supposed to do?

First, if you are missing work due to an injury/disability, you should immediately apply for State Disability Insurance through EDD, which will pay you short-term benefits while you recover from your injuries. 

The next question is whether you have a workers' compensation claim. The answer can be complicated, and depends on whether you were in the course and scope of your job while driving the company vehicle. Generally, if you are on-the-clock or otherwise using the vehicle for a company reason, you are entitled to workers' compensation benefit. However, if you are only driving to or from your home, you generally will not be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. 

Next, since you were rear-ended, you likely have a third-party claim against the driver of the other vehicle. The damages available in a third-party case include items that are never recoverable in a workers' compensation claim, such as loss of enjoyment of life or emotional distress. This type of claim typically takes longer to develop, and the value depends on the severity of your injuries, but you nevertheless have the right to recover your damages from the responsible party. 

Finally, given the potentially complicated issues involved, you should consult with an attorney experienced in handling injuries involving both third-party and workers' compensation claims - these cases have overlapping issues and can be difficult to navigate without competent counsel. 

-Zachariah Hansen, The Arns Law Firm, San Francisco, CA
Ask Zachariah a question at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information on work-site accidents and
your legal options, visit the ARNS Website.

"Interaction via "Ask the Expert" does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any advice given is neither legal advice nor does it serve as a replacement for hiring an attorney. In addition, any case results mentioned or discussed are not guarantees of similar results."

Zachariah Hansen

This Month's Expert; Zachariah Hansen

Zachariah Hansen has proven himself as an indefatigable litigator who has obtained outstanding results for the clients of The Arns Law Firm. Zach was actually a student in Bob Arns’ trial practice class at the University of San Francisco Law School for 3rd year law students. After the class was completed, Bob was so impressed with Zach’s ability, great heart for the cause, and calm demeanor in the heat of battle, he offered Zach a job. Zach has been dedicating his legal career to helping people who have been injured obtain the compensation they deserve.

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