Are you prepared to survive an auto accident claim? They’re more common than you might think.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that vehicle-related incidents are the primary cause of casualties in the workplace.
According to the United States Department of Labor, car crashes cost businesses $60 billion per year. These expenses come in the form of:
- Property damage
- Lost productivity
- Medical care
- Legal fees
They also increase the cost of administering benefits such as disability, private health and workers compensation insurance – not to mention the overheads associated with maintaining these initiatives.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) places the average cost of an auto accident at $16,500 to the employer. When an injury is involved, that number rises to $74,000 and then $500,000 in the event of a fatality.
Lest your small business and employees fall victim to any of these catastrophic scenarios. The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) recommends the following steps to minimize your risk of facing an auto accident claim.
The NETS 10 Step Program
These strategies aim to improve traffic safety and reduce the likelihood of car crashes. Following them can help you ensure that you hire capable and competent drivers while supplying the appropriate training and supervision that keeps them safe.
- Senior managers should be involved in providing leadership and fostering a safety culture
- Creating a written policythat details procedures related to areas such as seat belt use and drug testing
- Establishdriver agreements regarding performance and expectations
- Carry out checks on motor vehicle records
- Implement crash reports and investigation processes
Note that the NETS Traffic Safety Primer: A Guidebook for Employers contains more detailed descriptions of these steps.
- Inspect and properly maintain company vehicles
- Enforce a disciplinary action system for violations
- Develop an incentive/reward program
- Maintain driver training and communication
- Adhering to local and federal regulations
Despite your best efforts, employees can still end up in auto accidents. Your business may not necessarily be at fault. Even then, it’s possible to be hit with an auto accident claim.
In these scenarios, it’s best to speak to a car accident lawyer who can protect your finances and reputation while ensuring that you recover any damages.
Remember to gather information from the injured party and witnesses in the event of an accident. You should also secure photographic evidence and promptly notify your insurance company. This brings us to the next step.
Another vital strategy for protecting your business is having the right insurance coverage. Your insurance company will work alongside your lawyer to investigate claims.
Employers should be reviewing their auto insurance policies at least once per year to verify that the current coverage is sufficient or if any additional types of coverage are needed.
At the end of the day, prevention is better than a cure. The peace of mind that comes with knowing you have the legal expertise and proper insurance is certainly important, but the value of promoting safe driving practices and caring for your fleet is just as crucial.