Telematics, cell phone use and workers’ comp liability

Telematics, cell phone use and workers’ comp liability

Employee use of cell phones while driving is a ticking time bomb for employers. Not only does such behavior expose companies to the risk of being sued by third parties, it also leaves them (and their insurance companies) footing the bill for workers compensation claims when employees sustain injuries in on-the-job distracted driving crashes.

In this video interview, trial attorney John Gelman explains why workers’ comp liability and expense skyrockets when companies permit employees to use cell phones while driving for work. He also addresses how the “no-fault” workers’ comp system leaves employers holding the bag even if an employee injures him or herself doing something he or she shouldn’t, like texting while driving, and how the regulatory tides are changing, shifting how distracted driving claims may be covered in the future, and why employers should not assume that their insurance carriers will pony up when the workers’ comp bill comes due.

Gelman is emphatically clear that employers must bear the burden for the costs of employee distracted driving on-the-job. “If there is cell phone use by the employee, and that causes an accident, the employer is going to be liable for workers’ compensation,” he notes.

Matt Howard is co-founder and CEO of ZoomSafer, which provides software to promote the safe, legal, and hands-free use of mobile phones while driving. For more from Matt Howard, see Why telematics is the answer to distracted driving and Measuring distracted driving.

For all the latest telematics trends, join the sector’s thought leaders at Telematics Munich 2011 on November 9-10 in Munich.


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