Road accidents lead causes of workers’ compensation injuries

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2013 | Workers' Compensation

When the issue of workers’ compensation comes up, the mind likely flashes to an image of an accident occurring in a warehouse, industrial or office environment. Anecdotal evidence and personal experience would seem to dictate that those are the places where most Pennsylvania workers are likely to suffer the worst work-related injuries. But new statistics from one organization suggest that would be wrong.

According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, the major cause of the most severe workers’ compensation injuries is traffic accidents. This is despite the fact that instances of motor vehicle fatalities and injuries generally have been on the decline in recent years.

The recently released information featured a comparison of data to that which was collected as part of a similar study done in 2006. The NCCI says it found that the frequency of motor vehicle accidents has gone down. It says the numbers suggest that the trend is due in part to the recent recession. The group notes that accident rates involving large trucks saw a fairly large decline between 2006 and now.

At the same time, the group says that while deaths in truck accidents is now nearly the same as in passenger vehicle accidents, non-fatal injuries are higher as a result of passenger vehicle crashes.

More specific to the issue of this post is the finding that injuries due to motor accidents that are submitted as workers’ compensation claims tend to be more severe than average workers’ compensation claims. Neck injuries are the major injury for which claims are made and the NCCI says that they affect a broad range of occupations. It says even clerical workers have a high risk of injuries from traffic accidents.

Regardless of how an injury is sustained, if it occurs in the performance of one’s duties on the job, it likely falls into the category of a workers’ compensation claim. Employers and their insurers may well challenge a claim if they feel they can argue that the accident happened outside the workplace. To protect one’s rights and benefits, an injured worker would do well to consult an experienced professional.

Source: Claims Journal, “Traffic Accidents Lead Cause of High-Severity Workers’ Comp Injuries: Study,” Dec. 20, 2012