Drivers of large, commercial vehicles are subjected to a variety of factors that put them at risk for an on the job injury.
Tight schedules mean long hours driving continuously often without enough sleep. They are sometimes required to load and unload the trucks making them likely candidates for back injuries as well as fall accidents. If you are in the trucking industry and suffer from a chronic ailment or have recently had an accident while working you may be entitled to workers compensation for your injuries.
Obtaining workers compensation benefits for truckers is a little more complicated than usual claims. Often times the driver lives in one state, his company is located in another, and the accident may have occurred in an entirely different state. Typically they have a choice of which state to file the claim in. It would be a good idea to speak with an experienced workers compensation attorney before making this decision. They can proceed with a thorough investigation of your claim. Some trucking companies will try and list their drivers as independent contractors not eligible for workers comp benefits through their insurance. Generally, this is not legal and should be disputed if you drive only for that company and they give you a schedule of when to drive and where. If you find yourself being denied as an independent contractor, contact a lawyer immediately.
Another issue complicating a workers’ compensation claim for truckers is the way in which they are paid. Unlike most workers who are paid by the hour, drivers of commercial vehicles are usually paid by the mile. Plus, they may also receive loading and unloading pay. Calculating a truck driver’s weekly pay can be difficult and a driver may find a discrepancy in the determined amount that is entirely in the employer’s favor. Again consulted with a workers compensation attorney will prove beneficial in this regard. Your attorney can make sure that all salaries are accounted for and you are not being short changed if you are entitled to recuperation of lost wages.
Statistically it is found that truck drivers have more musculoskeletal injuries than employees in other industries. This is mainly because of the long hours in a sitting position that is followed by a period of unloading heavy materials. Other common causes of injury to a truck driver are:
- road collisions
- slip and falls (either from the truck or a loading dock)
- back injuries from heavy lifting
- injury from having part of a load fall on them
All of these can lead to expensive medical care and time off from work. Be sure to advise your employer of any injury or accident immediately in order to remain eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Missouri Workmans Comp
A Joplin area trucking company tried to deny the claim of one its drivers who had fallen off of the trailer and suffered an acute knee injury. The driver had to undergo surgery to improve functionality of the knee. After careful review of the medical records and the report of a 3rd party independent medical examination, the trucking companies insurance settled the claim for $45,000.
The trucking industry has its own unique circumstances that require special skills to successfully navigate through a workmans comp claim. Do not hesitate to retain a Missouri workmans comp attorney to help you sort through it all and get the compensation you deserve.
Law Office of James M. Hoffmann
To speak with a Missouri workman’s comp attorney with over 20 years of experience, call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 or contact us online to schedule a free and private consultation. With St. Louis workmans comp attorney James Hoffmann on your side, you can be confident everything will be done to protect your rights and get you and your family the full amount of compensation you deserve.
photo credit: Bob Jagendorf