Adding moving vehicles, public roads, and a lot of government regulation to the mix can certainly complicate things when it comes to the trucking industry, especially when you’re injured while working as a trucker, whether in an accident on the road or otherwise. So, how does workers’ compensation work in the trucking industry?
How workers’ comp works
So, for the general basics of workers’ compensation: it’s a government-required way to protect workers who are injured on the job. If you’re injured at work or sustain a disability, illness, or become disfigured, you likely eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation provides financial support to cover medical costs, lost wages, or disability payments.
To receive workers’ compensation payments, you need to inform your employer of your injuries and file a workers’ compensation claim. It’s advisable to hire a workers’ comp attorney to assist you with your claim, as the filing process is complicated, and sometimes employers will require you to jump through unnecessary hoops or misclassify your employment status in order to avoid having to pay you the compensation you deserve.
So what about in the trucking industry?
Just like other employees, if truckers are injured on the job, whether in an accident on the road or performing other job duties, like servicing a truck, they are entitled to compensation. One thing to note, however, is that many truck drivers are not employees of a commercial trucking company, but instead are owner-operators. As an owner-operator, you are not considered an employee of the trucking company, and therefore, the company is not required to make a workers’ compensation payout if you are injured while working for them. Sometimes, though, employers will misclassify drivers who truly qualify as employees as independent contractors in order to avoid workers’ comp costs, in which case, the truck driver should definitely seek help from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident while driving a truck, in addition to workers’ comp—and even if you’re an owner-operator and not eligible for workers’ comp—you may be able to receive compensation by making a liability claim against the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident. If the other driver is found to be at fault in the accident by way of negligence (which can include breaking rules of the road by speeding, etc.), you can make a liability claim against the other driver’s insurance company, for which you may receive compensation.
Workers’ compensation is a tricky subject as it is, and when you add the possibility of car wrecks, it can become even more complicated. What you should know is that if you’re injured while working as a trucker, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation, and if you were in an accident which is not your fault, potentially compensation from the at-fault driver. If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident or other work on the job and you need to file a workers’ compensation claim, contact the Epstein Law Firm to ensure you get the compensation you’re owed.