Motor Vehicle Accidents and Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Is driving one of your job duties? If so, you’re not alone. There are thousands of employees in Indiana whose job responsibilities include driving ; many others are full-time professional  drivers. You might drive a delivery vehicle, a semi-truck, or a bus — or you might just drive your own car to attend meetings.

If you’re in a vehicle because of your job, as a driver or a passenger, and are injured in an accident, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you’re killed in the accident, your family may be able to collect benefits.

Many employees find themselves suffering injuries due to vehicle accidents while on the job.

  • The driver of a semi-truck was seriously injured when his truck rear-ended another on Interstate 70 in Henry County recently. The incident happened after traffic was stopped on the highway. The driver was airlifted from the scene to an Indianapolis hospital.
  • An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer was seriously injured in a recent accident on the city’s west side. A witness told investigators that a woman’s vehicle struck the officer’s cruiser as it approached an intersection. The cruiser was then struck by a second vehicle.

There were a total of 5,190 fatal work-related injuries in the United States in 2016, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Work-related injuries involving transportation incidents were the most common fatal accident in 2016, accounting for 40% of all work-related deaths.
  • There were a total of 2,083 transportation-related worker deaths in 2016; 1,252 of them were the result of roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles.
  • In 2016 fatal injuries among transportation and material-moving occupations increased by 7% percent, to 1,388 — the highest count since 2007. They account for more than a quarter of all work-related fatalities.

If you consider the number of fatal roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles (1,252) they are greater than the number of deaths due to the other leading causes of job-related accidents, including:

  • Violence and injuries due to people or animals (866)
  • A fall, slip or trip (849)
  • Contact with objects or equipment (761)
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments (518)
  • Fire or explosion (88).

Of employees killed or injured while driving, teens and young adults have higher accident rates than any other group. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths for workers in the United States aged 16 to 24, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

From 2003 to 2010 . . .

  • 843 workers 16 to 24 years old were killed in work-related motor vehicle accidents.
  • These deaths were 22% of all workplace fatalities for this age group.
  • In 67% of these collisions, the young worker was driving the vehicle involved in the crash.

Those involved in vehicle accidents can suffer a wide range of injuries, depending on the speed of the vehicles, the size of the vehicle colliding with the other, the angle at which the vehicle was struck and the use of safety belts. Driver or passengers could sustain soft tissue injuries, whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones and injuries to internal organs.

Workers’ compensation covers personal injuries or deaths caused by accidents arising out of and in the course of employment.  Your benefits could include medical treatment, compensation for lost wages and compensation for the loss or loss of use of parts of the body.  These are the only benefits available unless you’re permanently and totally disabled due to the accident.  If you’re killed in a work-related vehicle accident, your dependents may become eligible to collect certain death benefits.

Under Indiana workers’ compensation law generally, with some exceptions, whether or not you’re at fault in the accident isn’t relevant to determining whether you or your family should be awarded benefits. If you’re injured due to the negligence of another driver, you may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against that party to recover additional compensation for your injuries.

No matter what side of a claim you are on, a workers’ compensation dispute concerning a vehicle accident might seem like an intimidating process, but it doesn’t have to be. With the help of a workers’ compensation attorney, you can be sure that your interests are being represented. At Coriden Glover, our experience is an asset to our clients, and we can give you knowledgeable, skilled representation in all stages of a dispute. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.