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Workplace motor vehicle accidents in California

The biggest cause of fatal work-related accidents in California as well as across the country is work-related motor vehicle accidents. These accidents may occur on public highways, within industrial complexes or at off-road work sites.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents make up 36 percent of all work fatalities. Between the years of 2003 and 2010, an average of 1,275 workers were killed each year on public roads, an average of 311 died annually in industrial or off-road motor vehicle accidents and an average of 338 vehicle non-occupants were killed annually in work-related motor vehicle collisions.

The annual costs of workplace motor vehicle accidents averaged $60 billion, with the average cost of a fatality reaching $500,000 and an injury accident reaching $74,000. The CDC recommends that employers have policies and procedures in place regarding the use of work-related motor vehicles and that those policies are clearly communicated to the employees. Employers should also take care to properly maintain and service all vehicles and to only request employees drive when the weather permits. Additional recommendations include the implementation of educational programs designed to encourage safe driving behavior.

A workplace accident causing injury that occurs due to work-related driving may be covered through the employer's workers' compensation insurance. These accidents occur across industry sectors and are not limited to just the commercial trucking industry. Instead, many accidents occur at smaller companies that need drivers to perform certain job-related tasks. Examples include construction workers that drive heavy equipment, warehouse workers driving loading equipment and delivery drivers who drive for a whole host of different companies. No matter what the industry, if the accident resulted while the person was engaged in the performance of his or her job, workers' compensation benefits may be available. An attorney who has experience in this area can determine whether an injured client is eligible to file a claim.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Motor Vehicle Safety", December 28, 2014

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