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The devastating toll of on-the-job motor vehicle crashes

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2019 | Personal Injury |

No workplace activity is deadlier than driving.

From 2003-2017, work-related motor vehicle crashes killed more than 27,000 workers, according to federal data. That makes on-the-job crashes the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S. But it’s not just the employees at risk. A crash can kill or seriously injure anyone on the road. These accidents can dramatically impact the lives of victims and their loved ones.

The costs of a serious crash

Whether a loved one was killed or injured in an accident while driving on the job, or by someone who was working while behind the wheel, the repercussions can be devastating emotionally and financially. While the exact cost for each case can vary, one National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study estimated present and future medical costs from all crash injuries in a single year alone to be $23.4 billion.

That figure doesn’t account for other potential expenses for survivors or their loved ones, such as lost earnings, pain and suffering, the funeral and burial costs, and loss of companionship. It’s why some people pursue rightful compensation through a personal injury claim.

Why these personal injury cases can be complex

Filing a personal injury lawsuit after a serious crash involving an on-the-job driver can be particularly complex. That’s because there may be multiple vehicles with varying insurance coverages in play. A lawsuit needs to determine who was at fault, and therefore who is liable.

For example, let’s say someone driving a company car is involved in a crash with two passenger vehicles and a commercial truck. If the person driving the company car undoubtedly caused the crash, their employer’s liability coverage may have to pay for damages, including for injuries to other parties involved. Workers’ comp will likely cover injuries the at-fault driver in this case sustained.

But what if that person driving the company car wasn’t actually on the clock at the time? It’s possible the driver may need to rely on their own personal auto insurance in this case. These complicating factors can quickly add up. Here are a few more possibilities:

  • What if the company car was faulty, and the employer never repaired it?
  • What if the driver of the company car had been out to lunch with a client at the direction of their boss, and had a few drinks?
  • What if the commercial truck driver caused the crash after nodding off?
  • What if the driver in each of the two passenger vehicles was distracted at the time?
  • What if one of the drivers was under the influence of drugs?
  • What if one driver is an independent contractor and has a rider on their insurance?
  • What if one of the vehicles had a mechanical issue the manufacturer never disclosed?

A personal injury case needs to consider all possibilities. The insurers, parties involved and employers will likely contest any findings that don’t favor their own case, doing everything possible to defend against accusations they don’t agree with. The more people, employers, vehicles and insurers involved, the more complicated it can become.

These types of complex personal injury cases are often a tangle of liability knots, requiring patience and tough litigation to sort out. In the end however, the truth is the truth. Victims of these serious crashes, as well as their surviving loved ones, deserve what they are rightfully owed.