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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Injured Truck Drivers?

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Injured Truck Drivers?

Truck driving is a growing industry in the U.S., with over 3.5 million people working as truckers across the country. However, on-the-job injuries are an unfortunate reality, especially for those in the trucking industry. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) even indicates that driving is the deadliest profession.

Truck drivers may assume that they are covered by workers’ compensation insurance in the event that they are injured while performing their job duties. However, there are several factors that dictate whether injured truckers are eligible to receive these benefits.

Workers’ Compensation and No-Fault Laws

Truckers face unique risks while performing their job duties and may be covered by workers’ comp for either traumatic injuries or gradual injuries or illnesses. Some examples of these include:

  • Truck accident-related injuries, such as broken bones, back injuries, neck injuries, brain injuries, internal bleeding, and more
  • Repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger fingers, bursitis, or tendinitis
  • Musculoskeletal disorders from lifting heavy cargo or objects
  • Stuck-by or struck-against objects
  • Falls from heights

In general, Florida workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that workers who are injured on the job can typically receive benefits even if they are found to have contributed to their work accident.

For example, let’s say that a truck driver is lifting heavy cargo and accidentally trips and injures their back because they forgot to clear their pathway and eliminate trip hazards before lifting. In such a case, the worker may have caused the accident themselves but may still be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Additionally, in order to obtain workers’ comp benefits, the trucker must have sustained the injury or developed the condition during the course of job duties, which would mean that it is covered under the “scope of employment.”

Sometimes, trucking companies or their insurance providers may claim that a trucker’s injury or condition is unrelated to their work duties in order to get out of paying benefits. In order to prove that your injury was, in fact, developed during the course of your employment, your attorney must work to answer the following questions:

  • What were you doing at the time you sustained the injury?
  • Where did the accident occur?
  • Do you have any pre-existing conditions?
  • Is your condition common in your particular field of work?
  • Were you getting paid at the time you sustained the injury?

Independent Contractors vs. Employees

Whether a truck driver is covered by workers’ compensation insurance will also depend on the individual’s employment status. Only workers who are legally classified as employees are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

If a truck driver is considered an independent contractor instead of a full-fledged employee, the trucking company is typically not responsible for injuries sustained on the job. Sometimes, trucking companies will attempt to misclassify truck drivers as independent contractors in order to limit their liability when accidents happen involving these workers.

An experienced truck accident attorney can help you determine whether you have been misclassified by analyzing your specific contract and taking other factors into account, including:

  • The level of control the trucking company has over your job duties
  • Whether you or your employer dictate your work schedule
  • Whether your employer pays for the costs of truck maintenance costs
  • Whether you can decline certain loads or job
  • Whether you are paid hourly, weekly, by mile driven, by the percentage of gross revenue, etc.
  • Whether you are required to wear a uniform
  • Whether you are required to use your own equipment or are provided with equipment by the company

Don’t Miss the Deadline to File a Claim

The workers’ compensation system is meant to benefit injured workers, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to navigate or negotiate by yourself. In many instances, successfully pursuing and obtaining maximum workers’ compensation benefits as an injured truck driver requires hiring a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney who has previous experience representing injured truckers.

At Politis & Matovina, our legal team is committed to helping injured truckers receive the benefits they need and deserve. If you are unsure whether workers’ compensation benefits apply to your work accident, we are standing by ready to review your unique case for free and determine what your legal options are moving forward. Remember, there are time-sensitive deadlines that you cannot miss in order to pursue benefits, so the time to act is now.

We’re ready to fight for the justice you deserve. Contact Politis & Matovina at (386) 333-6613 to get started with a free case review today.

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