Learn the steps to get compensation after a brake-check accident at work
It is not uncommon for tempers to flare when Atlanta traffic is at its heaviest. Frustrated drivers may honk their vehicles’ horns and yell at other drivers. Aggressive drivers may weave in and out of lanes erratically, and some may even engage in a practice that is known as brake checking.
Brake checking occurs when drivers intentionally and suddenly brake to startle the driver of the vehicle that is behind them, often resulting in rear-end accidents. Though the law has traditionally held that the driver who rear-ends another driver is generally at fault, drivers who brake check may be considered reckless and, therefore, liable for negligence.
Dangers of brake checking in Atlanta traffic
If brake checking causes a collision, the resulting injuries can range from minor to severe. The primary and secondary collision forces in a rear-end accident can throw the head forward, then backward, causing whiplash.
Other possible injuries include:
Common jobs that require driving
Some jobs explicitly require driving, while others may call for an employee to drive on rare occasions. In both cases, workers who are injured in vehicle accidents that occur while they’re on the job may receive workers’ comp benefits for their injuries.
Delivery drivers, truck drivers, bus drivers, sanitation workers and couriers are required to operate a vehicle on the road as a central task within the scope of their employment. Other occupations are not as dependent on driving; however, employees may be required to drive a vehicle to run errands or to move from one job site to the next.
Other common examples of workers who may qualify for workers’ comp benefits if they’re injured while driving for work include:
Workers’ compensation for work-related
car accident injuries
Georgia law requires most employers with 3 or more workers (including part-time) to carry a workers’ comp policy that will cover employees in the event of a work accident.
Workers are generally eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits if they are injured in an accident that occurs while they’re on the job.
However, the accident must have occurred within the scope and course of the worker’s employment. Therefore, workers who are involved in an accident while running personal errands on their lunch break are less likely to receive workers’ compensation for their injuries.
Workers’ comp benefits available to injured workers
Injured workers who are eligible for workers’ comp may receive compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses, including exams, follow-up visits, medical supplies and devices, surgeries, hospital stays, rehabilitation and medication.
- Lost wages. If the injured worker is required to take time off from work, the worker may receive weekly payments or a one-time settlement to supplement a portion of their lost income (typically two-thirds).
- Death benefits. If an employee is killed in an accident, the employee’s surviving dependents may receive death benefits. Surviving family members may receive compensation for the worker’s medical expenses prior to his or her death, funeral expenses, and lost income.
Who’s liable in brake-checking car accidents?
Work-related car accidents are slightly different from other car accidents in terms of liability.
If a worker causes a car accident while in the scope of their employment, the worker’s employer may be legally responsible for resulting injuries and damage through the doctrine of vicarious liability.
An exception exists if the worker caused the accident outside of the scope of their employment (for example, while running a personal errand or commuting to or from work). In these cases, the worker will typically be personally liable.
If the other driver or a 3rd party causes the accident, the worker and the employer may both file a claim against the party who is at fault. The injured worker may also file a workers’ comp claim.
Steps to take after a work-related brake-check accident
Employees who are involved in brake-check accidents or other work-related vehicle accidents should generally follow the standard procedure all other drivers should follow after an accident.
- Call the police. First, you should call the police and wait for an officer to arrive and take a report. While waiting for the police, you should avoid discussing the details of the accident and admitting fault to the other party. When the police arrive, you should tell the police if the other party was engaging in brake checking or otherwise behaving recklessly or aggressively.
- Gather evidence. If there are eyewitnesses, you should talk to the witnesses and ask for their contact information if they need to leave the scene before the officer arrives. If you feel physically capable, you should also take photos of the accident scene to preserve visual evidence before the involved vehicles are moved.
- Seek medical care. If you’re involved in a work-related car accident, you should travel to the hospital to receive a medical exam—even if you don’t immediately feel injured. Accident injuries can take days or weeks to cause symptoms. A medical exam can identify any injuries that may require treatment before the injury worsens. Receiving an immediate medical exam will also ensure your injuries are documented, making it easier to tie the injuries to your work accident.
- Notify your employer. Next, you should notify your employer about the accident to begin the workers’ comp process. In most cases, you’re required to notify your employer in writing within 30 days.
- File a claim to begin receiving workers’ comp benefits.
- Contact an attorney. At this point, you should also contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney for a free case evaluation to make sure your rights are protected and explore your options for filing additional lawsuits.
Contact a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney
If you’ve been injured in a brake-check accident or any other work-related accident in or around Atlanta, contact the experienced work injury attorneys at Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys. We have more than 75 years of combined experience helping injured workers across Georgia recover compensation after an injury.