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Traffic Accidents and Workers Compensation

When you think of workers compensation, you probably think of a worker getting injured on the job. What you might not think of are workers compensation claims that are made as the result of traffic accidents.

In fact, traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of workers compensation injuries that are of a highly severe nature. On top of this, traffic accidents are spreading throughout various job headings. According to a 2006 study that was done by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), those classified under the heading of clerical have a surprisingly high exposure to traffic accidents.

In December, 2012, the study was updated by the NCCI. The updated study has been extended to add several years of more recent data. In this updated study, the NCCI does an analysis of traffic accidents as being the reason for multiple workers compensation claimants. The added years of data enabled the study to observe the reduction in traffic accidents that occurs during recessions. This confirmed the cyclical characteristics of traffic accidents that took place during the Great Recession.

One of the things revealed by the updated study is that traffic accidents have a propensity for bringing about higher severity workers compensation claims from multiple claim events and are more likely to cause multiple claims.


Distracted driving among leading cause of traffic accidents

Another finding of the updated study is that distracted driving remains as one of the leading causes of near accidents and accidents. Employers can play a vital role in the reduction of distracted driving by implementing safe procedures and practices.

Another finding of the updated study is the same as the 2006 study. It is that the decline in frequency of traffic accident injuries and fatalities in the workplace and overall has continued. The cyclical pattern of traffic accidents that was detailed in the 2006 study was very pronounced in the recent Great Recession. In other words, the rate of decline in traffic accidents increases during recessions. This is especially true in regard to accidents that involve big trucks.

Another finding of the updated study that was in line with the 2006 study is in regard to claim characteristics. Namely, that traffic accidents make up more than half of all claims with subrogation, subrogation is significant, they impact a wide range of jobs other than just truckers, they are more severe than the average workers compensation claim, top diagnoses include neck injuries and attorney involvement is more frequent.


Risks Varies for Type of Vehicle

The updated study also found that risk varies according to type of vehicle. The frequency of nonfatal injuries is higher for passenger vehicles, even though the frequency of passenger vehicle fatalities is now quite similar to the frequency of truck fatalities.

Finally, one finding of the updated study stands in contrast to the 2006 study. In the 2006 study, it was found that traffic accidents made up a growing share of nonfatal workplace injuries. The updated study revealed that the share of nonfatal workplace injuries has fallen as the number of traffic-related injuries fell more than non traffic-related injuries during the recession.

If your have been injured in a work-related traffic accident, it may be in your best interests to contact a workers compensation attorney.

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