Safety matters every day of the year, but during June it gets the extra attention it deserves thanks to National Safety Month.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), preventable injury is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease, cancer, and COVID-19. Recent NSC injury statistics note that an American is accidentally injured every second and killed every three minutes by a preventable event, like a vehicle crash, fall, or drowning – all of which can lead to personal injury claims if recklessness or negligence was involved.
NSC data showed that the most common preventable deaths in Georgia occurred by motor vehicle accidents and falls. Let’s review these preventable injuries and what you can do to stay alert – whether you are on the job or off the clock.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Cars, pickups, large trucks, tractors, and motorcycles are all motor vehicles. And whether you are driving through Cartersville, Chattanooga, or Canton or cruising through rural North Georgia – your vehicle can pose major safety risks if not properly operated.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) reported 1,664 fatal crashes in Georgia in 2020 involving all the aforementioned vehicles, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. That means nearly five people per day died on Georgia roadways that year – even during the height of the pandemic when many people had reduced or limited commutes.
The most alarming trend is the rise in distracted driving. The Georgia Department of Transportation confirmed 16,238 crashes were caused by distracted driving in 2021, 68 of which were fatal. Distracted driving was suspected in many more accidents in the same year, with nearly 151,622 crashes – 469 of which were fatal. Anyone driving for their work – especially as a member of a fleet – has a special responsibility to operate their vehicle safely and distraction-free. When a professional driver is involved in a motor vehicle accident, the employee and their employer may be liable for damages.
There are five key steps you can take immediately after a motor vehicle accident to protect yourself and your rights and get the compensation you deserve:
1. Gather contact and insurance information of the other driver(s).
2. Take pictures of the damage and of the scene.
3. Seek medical attention. Get assessed by a doctor within 72 hours to ensure that no serious injuries or conditions have gone undetected.
4. Report the accident to your insurer, and provide the details and photos.
5: Hire a North Georgia personal injury attorney.
A personal injury lawyer can also ensure that all legal requirements associated with filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit are met so they are not dismissed due to a technicality or oversight.
Falls: An Elevated Risk in North Georgia
Falls can occur anywhere and from any height. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists falls as the leading cause of fatal workplace injuries and the violation the agency cites most frequently in construction industry inspections.
The settings for the most common slips and falls experienced by our clients include:
- Construction sites.
- Dangerous premises.
- Poorly maintained roadways.
The intensity of injury and pain will depend on the parts of the body affected and how quickly and efficiently the person received medical treatment. It is well-established that falls can lead to catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and spinal cord injuries (SCI), which can lead to a lifetime of paralysis and costly special care.
So how can you protect yourself if injured due to a hard fall?
Under OCGA § 9-3-33, a personal injury victim typically has two years to file a lawsuit in court. A judge can toss the case out of court if the deadline passes and the responsible party will not have to pay any compensation. Special circumstances apply if you are injured at your workplace, and you may qualify for workers’ compensation insurance to cover medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation and disability, and death benefits (provided to family members).
If you were injured on public property, then you have even less time to file a suit and notify the government agency – typically only six months.
Some exceptions apply to the statute of limitations, but you should not rely on them. Instead, reach out to a North Georgia slip and fall attorney immediately.
National Safety Month Resources
There are several resources available to help prevent catastrophic injury in the workplace, on roadways, construction sites, and in government or commercial buildings.
NSC hosts National Safety Month (#NSM) events every June. This year, the organization offers various safety tools, from videos and statistics to articles and off-the-job resources, on these weekly topics:
- Week 1: Emergency Preparedness
- Week 2: Slips, Trips, and Falls
- Week 3: Heat-Related Illness
- Week 4: Hazard Recognition
Posting social media announcements, distributing #NSM fact sheets, and revisiting training are ideal ways to broaden awareness. Employers and employees can learn more here and take their “Safe At Work” pledge to commit to #WorkplaceSafety.
The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) provides members with turnkey tools and programs to advance any organization’s road safety initiatives.
OSHA recently launched a National Emphasis Program to reduce fall-related injuries and fatalities for people working at heights in all industries.
Your Personal Injury Attorney in North Georgia
If you or a loved one were injured in any circumstance, from a car accident or fall to a burn or dog bite, experienced attorneys at Pritchard Injury Firm can help. Contact us online for compassionate legal guidance that will help you get the compensation you need to recover and move forward.