The trucking industry employs tens of thousands of drivers in California. On a national level, it includes more than two million people, many of which are independent owner-operators. Although it is a job that may seem to be lucrative, many truckers are giving up this career because of relatively low pay combined with difficult working conditions. Many spend days at a time behind the wheel, spending nights in parking lots, or on the side of the road.
While the job comes with high risks and a great level of responsibility, truck drivers can still count on being covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Whether you are considering this career choice or you’re already a seasoned truck driver, keep reading for more information.
What are the most common injuries in the trucking industry?
A truck driver career is tangled with stress and an increased risk of sustaining some common work-related injuries and long-term conditions. The most common injuries can be listed as follows:
Muscle sprains and strains
Stemming from being sedentary over long periods, lifting heavy loads, and poor diet choices, truck drivers’ bodies may lose muscle and become more prone to sprains and strains.
Repetitive motion injuries:
These injuries are usually the result of keeping your arms, hands, and shoulders in the same position for extended periods of time, all the while being exposed to vibrations from your vehicle and the road. Examples of repetitive motion injuries include:
- Carpal tunnel
- Tennis Elbow
Slips and falls
You may be facing the risk of slipping and falling while stepping out or climbing in your truck cab, especially in case of inclement weather. What’s more, you could slip and fall during the loading and unloading of the cargo.
Road accidents: single or multiple vehicles
Given the nature of the job itself, you may frequently find yourself in traffic jams or in the vicinity of distracted or reckless drivers that could cause an accident. There are hundreds of thousands of non-fatal crashes that involve trucks on a yearly basis, with approximately every fifth occurring during nighttime. There are two main factors that contribute to such accidents:
- speeding of any kind, which is the most frequent factor,
- distraction and lack of attention, which is the second-rated factor of accidents involving large truck drivers
Can injured truck drivers and other workers in the industry count on workers’ comp?
Truck drivers that operate as employees of trucking companies may enjoy a range of standard benefits, very much like other workers. This usually includes healthcare, dental, vision, and life insurance, and of course, workers’ compensation insurance. When you’re injured while doing your everyday work-related duties, you can count on full medical coverage, as well as partial coverage for lost income.
How does workers’ compensation work?
When you sustain an injury, you should first call your doctor and report the injury to your employer. Your supervisor or HR department should help you file a claim, while you focus on your recovery. Unfortunately, insurance carriers might attempt to minimize or question your claim, so you need to have firm legal support on the matter. They might argue that the accident occurred outside of your working hours or that you were negligent while driving or tending to your cargo.
This is the moment to consider hiring a savvy workers’ compensation attorney. In the case that you would need to appeal a denied claim in front of the court, an attorney will be able to represent you in the best possible way. They will also help you collect the necessary evidence, get unbiased medical attention, and get properly compensated for the injuries you have sustained.