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On-the-job auto crashes put many workers’ health at risk

The modern job market is increasingly asking workers to travel. It may be the core component of the job, like a delivery driver for an online retailer. Or it might be a small – but necessary – piece, such as a nursing assistant traveling to patients’ homes. The demand that workers hit the road in order to do their job is widespread.

It’s also putting those workers at risk. Work-related crashes may seem like an uncommon occurrence, but in reality, they happen to thousands of people every year. Sometimes with devastating results.

How big of a problem are work-related car accidents?

Consider this info from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States, and the first- or second-leading cause in all major industry groups.

From 2003-17, more than 27,000 workers in the U.S. died in work-related motor vehicle crashes. That’s an average of 1,800 fatalities a year over that 15-year period.

It’s not just transportation workers

Workers specifically in transportation are certainly at risk, but many people who need to drive as a small part of their job can also be affected. According to the CDC, 55% of those who died in work-related motor vehicle collisions in 2017 weren’t employed as motor vehicle operators.

That could include professions such as:

  • A coach or scout traveling to a game
  • A forestry expert heading to a job site
  • A health care technician going to an in-home visit
  • A pest control worker driving from one home to another

Those most at risk however were workers in the transportation and warehousing industry, which accounted for 40% of all work-related motor vehicle accident deaths in 2017.

Who pays for a work-related accident?

There is likely not a simple answer when determining who is responsible for financial costs after a work-related motor vehicle accident. It depends on many factors.

If the driver was working at the time, there will most likely be a workers’ compensation claim. If a driver had to use their own personal vehicle for job duties, their personal auto insurance coverage might get pulled in. If another vehicle was involved, that driver’s insurance may come into play.

If another driver was at fault in the crash, there’s also the possibility the injured worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party to cover some costs, such as medical bills, lost wages or pain and suffering. There are many factors to consider however, and the complexity of these cases is why many injured workers hire an attorney to help secure compensation.

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