Motor Vehicle Accidents While Driving On the Job
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consistently finds that motor vehicle related incidents are the leading cause of work related fatalities in the U.S. An estimated 36% of all occupation fatalities reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are associated with motor vehicle accidents. Between 2003 and 2010, an average of 1,275 workers died annually on public highways in work related motor vehicle accidents. Another 311 workers died each year in crashes occurring off the highway or on industrial premises. Over 300 pedestrians die annually as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle.
Work related motor vehicle accidents can lead to serious injury for both the employee and other individuals involved in the crash. On average, a fatality occurring on the job will cost the employer over $500,000. Each non-fatal injury costs nearly $74,000. Young employees who drive on the job, such as delivery drivers and truck drivers, are at an increased risk of accident.Motor Vehicle Related Crashes by Industry
Studies show that the risk of motor vehicle crashes cuts across all industries and occupations. Work related motor vehicle crashes can be experienced by:
- Professional drivers—truckers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, delivery drivers and other individuals who transport freight or passengers for a living are considered professional drivers. These jobs entail many hours on the road, and a grave risk for work related motor vehicle accidents.
- Occasional drivers—occasional drivers are employees who spend a part of the workday driving a vehicle owned or leased by the employer, or a personal vehicle. Occasional drivers spend fewer work hours on the roadway, but are nonetheless at risk of sustaining a motor vehicle accident while on the clock.
A number of potential injuries can occur as a result of a work related motor vehicle accident, ranging from the mild to the very severe. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Brain and head injuries—these are among the most serious and debilitating of injuries sustained by motor vehicle accident sufferers. Brain and head injuries can include mild concussions, bruising, bleeding, and swelling of the brain. They can also include traumatic brain injuries, which can lead to permanent disability.
- Neck injuries—neck injuries are extremely common in motor vehicle accidents, and can include the relatively minor whiplash, as well as more serious injuries like cervical dislocation.
- Spinal cord and back injuries—the back and spinal cord are vulnerable parts of the body that can sustain severe injury in the event of a crash. Spinal cord injuries can result in loss of feeling or function. Back injuries can cause pain and limit mobility.
- Internal injuries—the impact of a motor vehicle accident can cause internal injury, including damage to the kidney, spleen, heart, liver, and lungs. These injuries can be life threatening and require immediate medical treatment.
In Maine, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident while performing a work duty or if you were on the clock when the accident occurred, you can pursue workers’ compensation benefits. It is important to note that even if you were totally or partially at fault for the accident, you may still be eligible for benefits.
Injured employees can seek compensation under Maine’s workers’ compensation laws for lost time from work, medical bills, prescription costs, mileage to and from doctors’ appointments, and more.Third-Party Liability
In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, employees injured while driving on the job may have the right to seek further recovery from the third-party who caused the accident. This third party recovery can impact your workers’ compensation benefits and you will need a Maine attorney with experience in both workers’ compensation and personal injury cases to carefully analyze your claim.Maine Employee Rights Group: Excellent Legal Service for All Injured Employees
The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Maine Employee Rights Group will zealously fight for top compensation for workers injured in motor vehicle accidents. These types of workers’ compensation claims can involve complex issues of coverage and coordination of benefits between the workers’ compensation insurance carrier and the third-party liability insurance carrier. Maine Employee Rights Group will steer you through the insurance maze towards a complete recovery. Call us today at 207.874.0905 to schedule a consultation at one of our convenient meeting locations. We also offer in-home and in-hospital consultations.