Why are workers’ comp car accident claims on the rise?

A top workers' comp organization points to one main cause for the increase in work related car accidents.

Workplace safety has increased in the United States. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), a group that analyzes data and industry trends to help foster a "healthy workers' compensation system," recently stated that overall, this increased safety has translated to a decrease in workers' compensation claims. Yet one specific category of workers' comp claims has steadily risen over the last five years: motor vehicle accidents.

Are injuries and fatalities due to car accidents a common workers' compensation claim? Yes, unfortunately these tragic accidents are a common problem. The NCCI reports 41 percent of all fatal workers' compensation claims are the result of an automobile accident.

What is the cause for the increase in motor vehicle accident workers' comp claims? The NCCI recently conducted a study on the increase in car accident workers' compensation claims throughout the country to find the reason for the rise in these claims. The organization notes the increase in these job-related motor vehicle accidents correlates with "the increasing popularity and use of smartphones." As such, the organization contends distracted driving plays a role in the increase.

What is the government and employers doing to address this problem? The NCCI notes these organizations are encouraging three main efforts to address this issue:

  • Apps. There are certain applications that can block smartphone functions while a vehicle is in motion.
  • Laws. Many states throughout the country have made it illegal to text or use apps on their smartphones while driving.
  • Technology. Additional technological advances in the form of autonomous vehicles could also address this problem.

The organization concludes the study with a note that it will continue to closely monitor whether or not these efforts are successful in the attempt to reduce this growing trend.

What if I am a victim of a workplace motor vehicle accident? Victims of workplace car accidents are likely eligible for benefits through the workers' compensation program. The government created this system to allow workers' the ability to recover medical expenses and lost wages when injured while on-the-job. This generally includes car accidents.

In order to qualify, the system generally requires the car accident occur when the employee is performing a job-related task. This can include delivering a product for an employer, travel when the travel is reimbursed by the employer or other work-related errands. It is important to note the system generally does not allow for compensation for accidents that occur during lunch or another break in the work day