In a 2013 report, the American Trucking Association found that of accidents involving trucks and passenger cars, the driver of the car is the cause of the accident at least 80 percent of the time. This means that even if you are an extremely safe driver and follow all laws and regulations while operating your truck, you may still be involved in an accident, which may result in property damage or serious injury.
Because trucking accidents occur while the driver is in commission of his work duties, these accidents can be more complicated than typical car accidents. Not only is the insurance on the vehicle invoked, but because you’re on the clock, if you’re injured in an accident, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation—even if you’re deemed at fault in the accident.
If you’re injured in a trucking accident, there are several ways in which you can receive compensation:
If you’re an employee of a trucking company who is working when injured, you are entitled to workers’ compensation, which will provide you financial benefits including medical expense, lost wage, and disability benefits. When you are injured, report your injury to the company immediately and begin a workers’ compensation claim. Except in very rare circumstances, companies are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
It’s possible though that you may need to see a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that your claim is properly handled. Many times, employers may misclassify employees as independent contractors, for whom they’re not required to carry workers’ compensation, to avoid payouts. With many trucking companies trying to push drivers into being independent contractors, this can be fraught territory.
Insurance of the driver at fault
If you were not at fault in the accident, but are not eligible for workers’ compensation or need further compensation for your injuries, you may choose to bring a liability claim against the insurance provider of the driver who caused the accident. If the driver is found to have been negligent by breaking a rule of the road (e.g., speeding, failing to stop in time, etc.), and therefore the cause of the accident and your injuries, you may receive payments from their insurance company.
Your employer’s insurance
If you are in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance, you may still be able to receive compensation for your injuries from your employer. Commercial trucking companies are required by federal law to carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance. This liability insurance will often have coverage for under- or uninsured motorists.
If you’re a trucker who has been injured on the job, there is compensation available to you to help you and your family through the difficult process of recovery. But don’t try to do it on your own. Workers’ compensation claims are a complicated process, and to ensure you get the compensation you need, you want the help of an expert in workers’ compensation claims. Give our office a call at 773-522-7000, or request an appointment for your free initial consultation online today.
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