With over 3.5 million professional truck drivers nationwide, the trucking industry is huge, and it’s only getting bigger. The U.S. economy heavily relies on its trucking industry; however, trucking isn’t risk-free. Truck drivers are exposed to a unique set of challenges and risks. Commercial truck accidents often result in severe injuries for everyone involved. Workers’ compensation benefits offer some protection to truck drivers who have been injured in an accident while on duty.
Workers’ Compensation for Truck Drivers in Atlanta
The workers’ compensation laws in Atlanta are governed by state regulation. In Georgia, any employer with three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This includes trucking companies. The workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for medical bills and lost wages that the truck driver may incur as a result of the accident.
Generally, worker’s compensation coverage is based on a no-fault system. This means that as a truck driver, you are not required to prove who is at fault to get workers’ compensation benefits.
The objective of workers’ compensation is to provide truck drivers with much-needed financial support and medical treatment during the recovery process.
Common Injuries for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers can suffer traumatic injuries in a truck accident. These injuries can result in anything from a minor trauma such as a concussion to a life-changing injury or condition such as paralysis or traumatic brain injury.
The most common traumatic injuries for truck drivers include:
- Head trauma
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Seat belt injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
Truck drivers are not only vulnerable to traumatic injuries. They can also suffer occupational injuries or illnesses. These injuries could be a result of over-exertion. A common type of injury for truck drivers is repetitive motion injury, which can occur due to normal driving activities. The most common types of repetitive motion injuries for truck drivers include shoulder or back/neck injuries.
In addition, truck drivers have an increased risk of certain health concerns, including exposure to hazardous chemicals, stress, sleep disorders, depression, and obesity.
Who Qualifies for Workers’ Compensation?
If you have suffered a work injury or illness as a truck driver, you could qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. To qualify for workers’ compensation, you must be classified as an employee. Truck drivers who work as independent contractors may not be eligible to get workers’ compensation benefits. If you are not sure about your employment status, you can consult with our workers’ compensation attorneys as this is a key factor in determining your eligibility.
Another important factor is whether your injury or illness is work-related. Workers’ compensation benefits are only available to those who sustained physical injuries while performing work-related duties. You must also be performing work that is within the scope of your employment.
The scope of the job for a truck driver is typically limited to driving the truck, making deliveries, and handling any emergency service required by the truck. However, some trucking companies also involve their truck drivers in other tasks such as loading and unloading the cargo.
Even if you qualify for workers’ compensation, you could become ineligible if you fail to report the incident on time. There is a certain time frame for employees to notify their employer about any injuries they suffered on the job. In most cases, Atlanta truck drivers have 30 days to report an accident to their employers. There are some exceptions to the deadline, so you should consult with an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney to check if any exceptions apply to your case.
Benefits Available to Truck Drivers
If you qualify for workers’ compensation coverage, you get access to medical and/or income benefits. Medical expenses incurred by injured truck drivers may include costs of surgery, medications, hospital stays, and other healthcare costs.
The benefits can also include a percentage of the injured worker’s lost wages for the period they are unable to work. If the injured truck driver suffered permanent disability, they can also receive benefits for that. In the event of a fatality, the surviving family members of the truck driver would be eligible for death benefits, which include funeral expenses and long-term financial support.
Workers’ Compensation Claim Process
Your first step should be to get medical attention for your injuries, and then report the incident that led to the injuries to your employer. You may be required to complete an incident report. The workers’ compensation insurance company may investigate the case and ask for your medical evaluation to determine any work restrictions. If your claim is denied, you can appeal the decision.
How can a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help?
Have you been injured while working as a truck driver? At Hansford McDaniel – Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, we help truck drivers navigate the complexities of workers’ compensation claims. We can handle the legal aspects of your case and help you through this challenging phase. Our law firm can also help ensure you comply with deadlines and negotiate with insurance companies to get the maximum possible workers’ comp benefits and settlement.
Call us today to set up a free consultation with our Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer.