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Employees can stay safe at work behind the wheel

Dealing with a car accident or workers' compensation claim are difficult moments in life, but what happens when the two occur at the same time? As the number one cause of workplace fatalities, car accidents while on the job are the top work-related injury concern for both employers and employees.

2016 brought the highest number of traffic-related deaths in nearly a decade, and with gas prices low, experts predict that more drivers will take the road again in 2017. No one can prevent all accidents, but there are proactive steps that employees who drive can take to reduce their risk on the road.

Proper awareness and training

Every employer provides workplace policy guidelines and safety manuals at an employee's start date, but how often are the materials actually read? Employees who take the initiative are often rewarded, and that same principle applies to safety. Understanding an employer's philosophy on safety can help shape behavior both on the job and behind the wheel.

Driving employees should also ensure that their own personal driver's license, certifications and insurance policies are up to date. Some drivers in certain age demographics can also take specific training courses that provide insurance discounts.

Know policies related to technology

With technology continuing to integrate itself into vehicles and everyday life, distractions behind the wheel are more pervasive than ever before. In addition to existing state and municipal laws, employers may also have their own policies related to use of cell phones and other technology while driving.

Employees who are involved in an accident while talking on the phone could lose credibility in workers' compensation claim. Following local laws and an employer's guidelines is the best way to ensure that an injury on the job is covered in a complete and timely manner.

How to handle the big "what if."

What happens if the possibility of an accident becomes a reality? The steps drivers take immediately following an accident often set the course for recovery. If possible, drivers involved in the crash should exchange information, take pictures of the damage with a cell phone, personally document any medical symptoms and seek the care of a doctor if necessary.

A car accident at work can often put an employee's needs for recovery at odds with the work requirements of an employer. When the issues of a workers' compensation case and a car accident collide, it is important to have the help of a personal injury to understand the law as it applies to a particular case.

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