Minnesota recently reached a grim milestone when the annual death toll for traffic accidents in the state reached 100 on April 28, 2015 - more than three weeks earlier than the 100-fatality mark in 2014, which occurred on May 21, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The somber news serves as an important reminder that traffic accidents occur every day and affect people from all different walks of life.
One context in which people tend to overlook the risk of traffic accidents, although it is quite substantial, is at work. In fact, on-the-job vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of workers' compensation claims nationwide, and nearly four out of 10 work-related fatalities that occurred in 2013 was the result of a transportation-related accident. Occupational vehicle accidents killed a total of 1,740 workers nationwide that year and seriously injured many more.
Who is most at risk on the job? It might not be who you think
When people think of on-the-job traffic accidents, they often think about truck drivers, taxi drivers, delivery drivers and others whose jobs specifically entail driving. But while these workers certainly can be involved in vehicle accidents, they are not necessarily the most at risk.
In fact, a 2014 report by Business Insurance on the topic explained that non-professional drivers such as traveling salespeople and regional managers often face the greatest risk of work-related traffic accidents. Not only are those employees less likely to receive specialized driver safety training, but they are also likely to find themselves driving in unfamiliar areas, which can make accidents more likely.
Furthermore, particularly when it comes to salespeople, the nature of the work often requires them to spend a great deal of time on their mobile phones, which raises the likelihood of distraction-related vehicle accidents.
Work-related crash injuries tend to be severe
When work-related traffic accidents occur, the injuries involved are often much more severe than those that occur in the average workplace. This is because vehicle accidents frequently result in injuries to the head, neck and back, which are often accompanied by a wide range of serious and potentially debilitating long-term complications such as pain, nerve damage and paralysis.
Because of their severity, on-the-job car accidents tend to require a longer recovery time than other work injuries. According to data from the National Council on Compensation Insurance, the average recovery time for a work-related traffic accident is about one-third longer than for other types of occupational injuries.
Benefits for injured workers
The Minnesota workers' compensation system provides financial and medical benefits to workers who suffer work-related injuries, whether they occur on the road or in the workplace. If you or a family member has been hurt on the job, contact the workers' compensation lawyers at Atkinson Law Office to discuss your situation and learn about the options that are available to you.