Vehicle accidents cause numerous work injuries and deaths in Colorado

Motor vehicle accidents occurring during work hours are the top cause of employment-related deaths of workers in the U.S., according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While top insurance companies in the nation list overexertion and slips, trips and falls as the top causes of workers' compensation claims, the most severe injuries are caused by work-related vehicle accidents.

Automobile, truck, van and other vehicle accidents can be different from other work-related claims for a number of reasons. Following are factors that make employers and employees pay special attention to on-the-job driving safety:

  • Severity: Motor vehicle accidents are typically much more severe than other types of workers' compensation claims and often cause permanent disabilities or deaths.
  • Age: According to the CDC report, older drivers are more likely to die in vehicle accidents while working than their younger co-workers. Declining awareness of conditions and higher susceptibility to life-threatening injuries are thought to increase the risks for drivers over age 55.
  • Risks: Risks vary according to vehicle type. For example, an 18-wheeler is likely to cause significantly more damage than a small taxi.
  • Distracted driving: Not surprisingly, distracted driving is a key cause of vehicle accidents during work hours. Delivery truck drivers, state troopers, truckers and taxi drivers are just a few examples of workers who spend a majority of their work hours in a vehicle. Juggling driving directions, electronic reporting systems and cellphone calls can cause deadly distractions.
  • Passengers: Researchers note that a majority of work-related vehicle accidents occur when there is only one occupant - the driver. Accidents involving vehicles with more than seven passengers are statistically rare, maybe because the driver is more attentive to his or her driving due to the increased risk to multiple human lives.

In Colorado, workers are entitled to workers' compensation benefits if they sustain injuries during the course of their employment. Benefits from work comp claims can include lost wages, medical expenses, compensation for permanent disabilities and death benefits for surviving family members.

Motor vehicle accidents that happen during a worker's employment often result in multiple types of claims. One, single accident may lead to personal injury, social security disability and workers' compensation claims, depending on the circumstances of the accident and the injuries caused.

A lawyer can help

If you or a loved one is injured on the job, seek the counsel of an experienced workers' compensation lawyer. An attorney knowledgeable about work injuries and employment-related deaths can help you or family members obtain compensation for losses sustained.