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Workers' compensation may be available in 3-vehicle accident

An ambulance crew was injured recently following a three-vehicle accident on U.S. 50 east of Avondale, Colorado. The accident itself remains under investigation, but regardless of the outcome of that investigation, the ambulance crew may consider filing for workers' compensation benefits. Such benefits are typically available when employees are injuring during the course of the employment, as appears to be the case here.

The accident reportedly occurred on March 1 as the two-man ambulance crew was carrying a passenger to a hospital in Colorado Springs. A Dodge pickup hit the ambulance head-on, causing the ambulance to flip on its side and the pickup to smash into a SUV. The truck was reportedly owned by Xcel Energy and was operated by one of its employee.

Tragically, the ambulance passenger died following the accident from what was described as "multiple trauma." The other five people involved in the crash, including the ambulance crew, two people in the SUV and the Xcel Energy employee, suffered injuries of varying magnitude. In this case, both the ambulance crew and the Xcel employee may be eligible to receive workers' compensation.

One question that may arise is whether the accident happened during the course of employment, as it is not always clear that accidents that happen outside of the workplace qualify for workers' compensation. In regards to the ambulance crew, it seems fairly clear that they were performing the duties of their job at the time of the accident. For the Xcel Energy employee, the issue is less clear, but as the 23-year-old was driving a company-owned vehicle, it seems likely that he, too, would qualify for the benefits.

Source: The Pueblo Chieftain, "3-vehicle accident kills one east of Pueblo," John Norton, March 2, 2012

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