Traffic accidents are among the leading cause of workers’ compensation cases nationwide. Traffic and motor vehicle accidents ranked sixth nationally among the top causes of work related injuries in 2012. For this reason it is significant for workers in the Atlanta area to know that Interstate 285 in Georgia was recently ranked as America’s deadliest highway in a 2013 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study interpreted by Vox and reported on by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The Vox article took the raw data on fatal accidents nationally from NHTSA and calculated the concentrations of these accidents per 10 mile stretches. It found that on the 75 mile stretch of I-285 circling the Atlanta Metro area, there were 26 fatal accidents in 2013, a rate of 3.5 accidents per 10 miles, with the second highest rate being 3.0 accidents per 10 miles. The study additionally found that the state of Georgia had a total of 1,085 accidents that year, ranking it seventh worst nationwide.
Exercise Caution on the Road
It is important to exercise caution at all times while driving. But the temptation to speed or drive aggressively can be especially great when driving on the job. Whether you are a driver running delivery routes, a construction worker going from job to job, or a home installation specialist, the pressure to get to where you are going as quickly as possible has an an effect on your work productivity. But being impatient on the road—even out of a desire to be an efficient and productive worker—can have catastrophic consequences. It is always in your interests to drive safely. And while you cannot control the actions of others, it is wise to be aware of the fact that other drivers may present a danger on the road as well and to therefore drive defensively.
Workers’ Compensation and Tort Damages
If you are injured on the job as a result of a car accident, you are entitled to workers’ compensation damages (unless you are properly classified as an independent contractor). This is true even if the accident was your fault, so long as the crash was not the result of your being intoxicated. However, if the accident was clearly not your fault and your injuries are significant, you may sometimes be better served by seeking tort (personal injury) damages from the party at fault. There are some risks involved in this approach, however. Below we list three of them:
- If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, you will have a difficult time collecting your damages from them even if they are clearly at fault;
- If there is a dispute over liability, you risk potentially recovering no damages; and
- It often takes significantly longer to settle a personal injury claim than to settle a workers’ compensation claim.
That is not to say that tort claims are not the right way to go in some cases. It is just that in many cases it is quicker, safer, and less stressful to accept workers’ compensation. In some cases you may be entitled to both workers’ compensation payments and tort damages, subject to subrogation. But this all depends on the specific facts of your case.
Contact an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you have been injured on the job, the first professional you should consult with after your doctor is a workers’ compensation attorney. At the Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we focus our entire practice on workers’ compensation. Call us today and request a free case evaluation. We can discuss your case with you to help you determine your best options. If retained, we will ensure that your workers’ compensation claim is processed fairly and efficiently.