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Truck Accidents: What Truck Drivers Need to Know About Compensation Options

April 20 2020 | Blog
  • If you are a truck driver, you must be aware of your rights concerning financial compensation in the event of sustaining injuries in an accident. In this blog, we cover the basics of personal injury compensation claims for truckers.

    The trucking industry is essential to the US economy. Thousands of businesses and millions of ordinary consumers depend on reliable transportation services provided by big rigs and 18-wheelers. In fact, truckers take care of as much as 71 percent of all freight movement in America, providing nearly 6 percent of all full-time work in the country. Without the steady flow of goods and supplies across the nation that the trucking industry makes possible, a great measure of our economy would essentially come to a standstill. Furthermore, it is estimated that if long-haul truckers stopped working, it would take only 3 days before most grocery stores would run out of food. There is little wonder, then, that this critical industry is worth around $700 billion.

    Of course, none of this would be possible without the tireless work of long-haul truck drivers. Each of these hard workers drives more than 100,000 miles per year, on average. Unfortunately, this puts truckers at a higher risk of getting into an accident and suffering an injury. It is estimated that the average US driver has one accident roughly every 165,000 miles they travel. If we apply this figure to the trucking industry, this may mean that the average trucker is at risk of being involved in a crash almost twice within any 3-year period. Any such accident may entail injuries and financial losses.

    If you are a truck driver, or have a family member in this line of work, it will benefit you to know how a personal injury claim against the party responsible for an accident may help you offset your losses and speed up your recovery. In this blog, you will learn how you can protect your rights and your income if you get involved in an accident as a trucker.

    You May Be Eligible for Workers’ Compensation

    After an accident, you may struggle financially due to mounting medical expenses and a prolonged period of inability to work brought about by your injuries. Workers’ compensation is designed to help you with your most pressing expenses, buying you time to fully recover from the physical impact of the accident. This kind of compensation is essentially a type of insurance your employer is required to carry by law. Workers’ compensation may cover your financial losses related to medical treatment and lost wages.

    To be eligible for workers’ compensation, you must be employed directly by the trucking company. As an independent contractor, you may not be covered by this kind of insurance but may seek compensation through occupational insurance if you have status as an owner or operator.

    It is important to remember that workers’ compensation will only cover your injuries if you sustained them in an accident that happened during the course and within the scope of your employment. This means that if you were using your truck for reasons unrelated to your job and got involved in an accident, workers’ compensation will not cover your losses. On the other hand, you may claim workers’ compensation benefits even if you sustained injuries in circumstances other than a motor vehicle accident—provided that you were fulfilling your work obligations at that time.

    In order to take advantage of workers’ compensation, you must act quickly and inform your employer about the mishap and your injuries as soon as possible. In Kentucky, state law doesn’t further specify the time limit within which you’re required to report your injury to your employer, whereas Tennessee gives an injured worker exactly 15 days to do so.

    You should also consider that, when you file for workers’ compensation, you automatically forego the right to sue your employer. Thus, if you have sustained serious or even catastrophic injuries and you suspect that your employer may be at least partially at fault for your accident, it is imperitive to consult an experienced truck accident attorney before filing your claim.

    Claims Against Multiple At-Fault Parties

    Worker’s compensation can be a great resource for maintaining your financial fluidity and stabilizing your budget. While it may cover some of your losses, though, it is not your only option. There may be another legal avenue which you may explore to ensure you are fully compensated for your losses. In fact, you may have the right to file a separate personal injury claim against one or more parties responsible for the accident in which you were injured.

    The other motorist may be the easiest to recognize as the at-fault party in a truck accident. However, other entities may share a significant part of the blame, making them liable for your injuries.

    Other potential at-fault parties in a truck accident claim may include:

    • Truck’s owner
    • Truck’s manufacturer
    • Government entities
    • Manufacturer of auto parts
    • Company providing cargo loading services
    • Service that provides maintenance and repairs to the truck

    It is not always easy to identify the at-fault party in a truck accident case. In addition, claims involving multiple defendants are particularly complex and require legal expertise. Therefore, if you, the truck driver, have suffered extensive injuries in an accident that was contributed to or aggravated by multiple parties, it is best to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

    Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers in Kentucky and Tennessee recognize and respect the invaluable services of truckers and how essential your work is in our daily lives. We want to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for your efforts and wish you safe and successful trips all year round.

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