Workers in Chicago and around the Midwest can be injured when performing any type of job. Researchers keep track of workplace injuries, their causes and the circumstances under which they occur to find strategies to reduce their frequency. In some cases, these attempts to make the workplace safer are effective. In others, they are not. For those who are required to drive and travel by motor vehicle as part of their job duties, an auto accident can warrant workers’ compensation benefits and, at the same time, might be the foundation for a personal injury lawsuit.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) reports that the past decade has shown a consistent rise in workers being injured in motor vehicle accidents and distracted driving is believed to be a factor. Since Apple released its iPhone in 2011, the market share increased by 78% by the time 2018 ended. This is significant because the one area in workers’ compensation claims rose simultaneously to the increase in auto accidents in general. Smartphone ownership and auto accidents rising at the same time is not believed to be coincidental.

From 2011 to 2018, workers claiming lost-time due to injury rose by nearly 5%. All other causes for lost-time decreased by more than 20%. Auto accidents tend to cost insurers 80% more than other workplace injuries. The worst injuries are to the neck, spine and head. A factor that is viewed as beneficial to better safety is vehicles that have driver-assist technology like autonomous brakes. Still, most drivers are not operating brand new vehicles, so it will take time for vehicles with advanced safety features to dominate the road leaving current safety and risk in the hands of drivers.

Any work-related injury can cause problems in a person’s life. Not only will they need medical treatment, but wage loss is a fundamental worry. The person might not be able to get back to work in a timely fashion or cannot get back to the same job at all. Retraining could be part of the process so that person can do a different job based on their physical abilities.

There can be disputes about workers’ compensation claims. For example, an employer or insurer could say that the worker is not severely injured and does not require the level of compensation her or she is seeking. Legal assistance, experts and evidence could help to get an approval. If the accident happened in a motor vehicle, there might also be the option of a third-party claim. This can overlap with the workers’ compensation case. A law firm that handles personal injury and workers’ compensation claims could help with this and more. A consultation is key.