Injured Driving a Truck? Here Are 3 Things You Need to Know
Truck drivers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers suffer more nonfatal injuries and illnesses that require days off from work than any other type of worker. That’s not to mention the alarming number of annual on-the-job truck driver deaths, which reached 918 nationwide in 2017.
If you’ve been hurt while driving a tractor-trailer or other big-rig truck, you’re most likely facing serious financial hardship in the form of medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. You may be able to get financial compensation that could address these costs, but you need to understand the options that are available to you.
Read on to learn more about the most important sources of compensation for truckers who get hurt while driving.
What Are My Options for Compensation as an Injured Trucker?
You have three primary options for financial compensation if you suffered injuries while driving a commercial truck. Those options are:
1. The at-fault driver’s insurance
In many cases where truck drivers suffer injuries in wrecks, the other vehicle is another big-rig truck. If you were injured in a collision caused by another truck driver, then you may be able to get financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses by filing an injury claim with the insurance policy that covered their vehicle (which is most likely owned by the trucking company that employed them).
Claims that involve another truck can be very complex, and it will take a lot of investigation to figure out what caused the crash and who may be liable for your injuries. It could be the driver of the other truck, their employer, or, if a defective truck part caused the wreck, the company that manufactured that part. Your best course of action in this situation is to schedule a free consultation with an experienced trucking attorney who can give you advice based on the unique details of your situation.
2. Your employer’s insurance
Although it’s more difficult for a smaller passenger vehicle to cause serious damage to a large truck and injure the driver, it certainly does happen. In this case, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance, but they may carry a low-limit insurance policy that can’t come close to covering the costs of your injuries and lost wages — and that’s if they have insurance at all.
Fortunately for truckers who find themselves in this situation, federal law mandates that all commercial trucking companies carry at least $750,000 in liability insurance, and some carriers also have additional liability coverage. These policies sometimes include uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage that may be able to provide compensation for you and your family if you get hit by a driver who has no insurance or very little insurance.
3. Workers’ compensation
Even though many trucking companies push their drivers to accept “independent contractor” status, courts have generally rejected this argument and considered them employees for legal purposes. This means that if you were injured driving a truck, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of whether your employer considered you an independent contractor or a full-time worker.
While the Truck Wreck Justice team doesn’t handle workers’ compensation claims, we can provide a referral for an experienced attorney who does.
If you’re confused or unsure about what type of claim you may have as an injured trucker, get in touch with the Truck Wreck Justice team today. We can listen to your story during a free initial consultation and use our years of experience representing hurt truck drivers to give you candid, no-nonsense advice about your legal options and your best path forward.
Truck Wreck Justice Attorney Morgan Adams Is Proud to Fight for Injured Truckers
If you’re a commercial truck driver and you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, Truck Wreck Justice Attorney Morgan Adams is ready to discuss your case and legal options right away at no risk to you. If Morgan Adams can take your case, he’ll use his years of experience handling truck wreck cases and his network of expert resources to fight aggressively for the best possible resolution to your case.
Meza, S. (2018, January 5). Deaths at work: Truck drivers had highest number of fatal injuries compared to any other job. Newsweek. Retrieved from http://www.newsweek.com/truck-drivers-workplace-fatalities-rate-fatal-injuries-771920
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.