While working for a trucking company, there are a number of accidents that can happen—whether on the road or otherwise. If you’ve been injured in a crash, while loading a tractor-trailer, or in any other situation at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation is a government-required way to protect employees who are injured on the job. Sustaining a disability, illness, or permanent disfigurement often provides grounds for benefits. Let’s take a look at what filing a workers’ compensation claim looks like if you’re a commercial driver.
Workers’ Compensation and the Trucking Industry
Whether you’re covered by workers’ compensation depends on your employment status. If you’re an independent contractor for a trucking company, you may not be eligible for benefits. If you are an employee, however, you’ll likely be covered for injuries that occur in the course and scope of employment.
For example, if you’re involved in a multi-vehicle pileup and sustain a head injury like a concussion, it’s likely you’ll need to take time off work to recover. Because you were driving for your employer, workers’ compensation benefits should apply. You may also be eligible for benefits if you were injured while loading or unloading a trailer or if you were hurt while making roadside repairs to your truck.
To ensure you receive proper benefits, it’s important to see a doctor for your injury as soon as possible. This way, there will be an official record of what happened, and you’ll have an idea of what recovery will look like.
How to Maximize Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation can be hard to navigate—especially when you’re dealing with physical injuries and in pain. In order to ensure you receive the maximum benefits possible for your situation, it’s important to understand the process and what steps you need to take. This includes understanding how to report your injuries, knowing if there are alternative or modified work options, and recognizing when it’s safe for you to return to work in full capacity.
- Understand how to report injuries. Every trucking company has a different process for reporting on-the-job injuries. It’s likely you operate under a very independent job description and you may not have direct contact with your supervisor for extended periods of time. In the event of an accident or injury, make sure you know who to contact and how to make the report. Your company may have a mandatory 24-hour reporting window, so you’ll want to be certain you understand the policy.
- Learn about alternative work. In some instances, a doctor may allow an injured truck driver to perform light or modified duties. In the trucking industry, this could involve clerical work and other stationary tasks. If you live near the terminal, this could be an option.
- Only return to work once healed. It’s important to only return to work once you have your physician’s approval. If you go back too soon, you could risk reinjuring yourself and jeopardizing your right to future workers’ compensation benefits. When it’s time to transition back to working, you’ll likely need a doctors’ work status release to return. Once you return, it’s important to give supervisors regular updates on your status.
With the above tips in mind, you’ll be able to receive full workers’ compensation benefits while you recover from your injuries. This will give you the time you need to heal, without having to worry about falling behind on your bills or losing your job.
In some instances, however, you may run into issues with an employer not wanting to provide you with the benefits you deserve. If you find yourself in a situation like that, it’s best to get in touch with a workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible. They can look into the matter and ensure you get what you deserve.
Contact Solomon Law Group
If you’ve been injured at work and believe your trucking company should be held responsible, we can look into your rights and determine your eligibility for workers’ compensation. We understand the challenges of trying to manage a claim while healing from injuries, which is why we’ll handle as much of your legal battle as we can—while keeping you informed every step of the way.
If you’re ready to file a workers’ compensation claim, scheduled a case review with Solomon Law Group. We’ll determine the best path for you to take so you receive the compensation you need to recover and get back to work. Contact us today for more information.