Distracted Driving, Not Just an Automobile Insurance Issue, Bad News for Workers Compensation Too

Author, David J Garcia, A.A.I, CRIS, President, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

I’ve written at length on the negative effects distracted driving is having on the automobile insurance industry and its impact on the rise in accidents, claim costs, and increases to your automobile premiums. But, have you considered its effects on your Experience Modification Rate (EMR) and ultimately workers’ compensation cost?

When one of your employees is injured in an automobile accident while working on your behalf, Arising out of Employment (AOE) / Course of Employment(COE) their sustained injury will be covered by your workers’ compensation policy, regardless of fault.

Man driving car while talking on a mobile phone and holding a coffee.

“Regardless of fault?!”

When a third party is deemed at fault and the injuries to your employee(s) have been settled, your workers’ compensation insurance carrier may “subrogate” their costs to the carrier representing the at fault driver. Now, here is the realty – studies have shown that 14.7% (4.1 million) of all California drivers are uninsured, while another large percentage of drivers hold the California minimum limits of $15,000/$30,000. What this means is that even if subrogation is a possibility, the likelihood of a “full” recovery is not probable. Thus, all the costs of the injury to your employee(s) will likely be the sole responsibility of your workers’ compensation carrier and this claim cost negatively affects your EMR and loss ratios for years to come.

What can you do?

You can implement a strong fleet safety program that includes a policy pertaining to distracted driving. When your employee is involved in a motor vehicle accident, adherence to your company’s accident investigation protocol is crucial. Documentation will prove pivotal for your carrier if subrogation becomes a possibility.

For our clients, through RM365 Advantage, we have a number of resources: fleet safety programs that can be customized, fleet safety training topics, fillable and printable accident investigation forms, archived fleet safety workshop videos, and more, in both English and Spanish. You can access this through our RM365 Advantage Risk Management Center or contact our Client Services Coordinator Alyssa Burley at aburley@ranchomesa.com.

If you are not a current client of Rancho Mesa, we encourage you to reach out to your broker for assistance or email Alyssa Burley to get additional information or to ask any questions.