Although many people in North Carolina still suffer serious workplace injuries every year, the overall number of workers’ compensation claims has been steadily declining for the past decade. Unfortunately, this decline does not include motor vehicle accidents. In fact, the number of work injuries related to car accidents has been on the rise.
If you spend any portion of your working hours on the road, you are at risk for suffering an injury in a car accident. These types of injuries are often quite serious and require time off work to recover. Even though taking time off to recover means you have the opportunity to focus on your recovery, it also means that you are losing out on necessary income.
Why are there more car accidents?
If the overall number of work injuries are going down, why are car accidents an exception? Prior to 2011, car accident-related work injuries had actually been on the decline as well. The National Council on Compensation Insurance — NCCI — believes that it has a lot to do with distracted driving.
In 2011 — the year the Apple iPhone hit the market — work injuries related to car accidents started to go up again. At the time, smartphones accounted for just 6% of all cell phones owned in the United States. By 2018, that figure jumped to 84%.
Common car accident injuries
Car accident-related workers’ compensation claims cost on average 80% more than workers’ compensation claims from all other causes. This is because car accidents tend to cause more severe, lasting trauma than other types of accidents you might encounter in the workplace. Injuries to the following body parts are particularly common:
Of course, any worker in any occupation can suffer a serious on-the-job injury. This means that, whether you work in an office or on a construction site, there is no guarantee of safety. According to the NCCI, driving a motor vehicle is perhaps the most dangerous job you can do.
What about safety technology?
New technology aims to make driving in the era of smartphones a lot safer. For example, there is technology that blocks calls and texts if a vehicle is in motion. Many newer vehicles contain safety features like automatic braking. However, since the average car or truck on the road is about 12 years old, it might be a while before this technology really becomes widespread.
Surviving a serious accident can be a physically and emotionally traumatizing experience. You do not have to recover from your work injuries without any help, though. In North Carolina, you have the option for applying for workers’ compensation benefits.