Getting injured on the job is no small obstacle. You need to make sure you are properly protected and not suffering without help and/or support. Many people associate an injury to a one-time occurrence such as a broken bone or torn ligament, but an injury can occur over time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. It is important as an employee of a company to you know you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured on the job. Each state has its own guidelines, but all cover medical treatment and loss wages in some capacity. Medical treatment can cover doctors’ visits, physical therapy, injections, and much more. Loss wages come into play when you are out of work due to your injury. Depending on which jurisdiction your claim is in, you are entitled to a certain percentage of your salary while out of work due to your injuries.

If injured on the job you should always give notice to your employer. This way your employer can have necessary documents filled out and sent to the insurance carrier. After this is completed depending on which state you file your claim in, you may need to file additional documents. Where, in what state, should you file your claim depends. You can file your claim in the state where the injury occurred or the state where your company is incorporated. Some companies have this outlined for you in your employment handbook. However, it is important to know that some states will not allow for any waiver of workers’ compensation rights within its jurisdiction.

Truck drivers face the possibility of having an instant/contemporaneous injury or can develop an occupational disease. For instance, a truck driver can get injured in a car accident and sustain whiplash, broken bones, or head injury. It is also possible that a truck driver can sustain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome from continuous driving. Either way you should never be deterred form filing a workers’ compensation claim. Employers’ must have workers’ compensation coverage for these exact incidents and the policy behind it is for the protection of workers. You should never let your supervisor try to persuade you or intimidate you not to file a claim if you need any type of medical assistance or will need to miss work due to the injury. It is also important to know that filing a workers’ compensation claim is not the same as filing a law suit against your employer.

As a truck driver you should know that if you are injured in a car accident you may also be able to file a law suit against the driver/owner the other vehicle in the accident. Or if there is a large pot hole or the road is not being properly maintained by a local municipality or state you may be able to file a suit in that circumstance as well. Both of these suits will be in addition and run concurrently with your workers’ compensation claim.

Do not forget that if injured on the job you will be covered under the protection of workers’ compensation law.

 

Accidents sometimes happen despite companies’ and drivers’ preparation and adherence to safety practices. Some risks and challenges come with driving a massive vehicle that weighs tens of thousands of tons.

Unfortunately, it is essential to know who’s at fault if an accident happens. This defines where the liability of each party starts and ends. If you’re the truck driver, you might have to defend yourself while facing mounting costs in damages. Furthermore, specific rules vary per state. If you’re wondering why do you need a Phoenix truck accident lawyer, the answer is to have someone to bail you out.

To help get you started, here are a few considerations in determining who’s at fault after a trucking accident:

Common causes of truck accidents

Trucking Statistics in Colorado reveal that apart from driving under the influence and overspeeding, the other causes of truck accidents are:

  • Lack of proper vehicle maintenance. Maintenance is essential in working with any machine to ensure that they are working correctly. You’ve probably heard stories of drivers losing their brakes or accelerating uncontrollably, later found to be caused by faulty parts.
  • Distracted driving. Driving requires total focus and attention. Even if you’re not driving a truck, texting, or doing anything else that would keep your eyes off the road is strictly discouraged. When proven, this could be considered as grounds for negligence.
  • Fatigue. While it may not look like it, driving is a physically demanding activity, even more, if you’re handling a heavy vehicle. Truck companies now set schedules and driving hour limits per week for their drivers.
  • Inexperience. Hiring a truck driver is a meticulous process, often requiring several qualifications. Skipping the necessary procedures in hiring one might result in dangerous consequences, and the company might be at fault.
  • Oversized loads. There are different regulations set to prevent overloading, yet there are still larger loads than usual. Take note that these loads, such as vehicles and equipment, require additional care and skill in transporting.
  • Hazardous weather conditions. Experienced truck drivers can navigate rain or snow. However, they should also exercise prudence in assessing when to wait out. Driving a heavy vehicle under slippery roads could cause them to slip, slide, and skid off the road.

Understanding the legal principle of negligence

One critical aspect in determining fault in these incidents is the legal principle of negligence. Negligence translates to the failure to exercise or lack of fulfilling their ‘duty of care’ or simply being careless. In an accident, the more negligent party will be determined to be the one at fault. Both insurance companies and courts use this in settling related disputes.

This also explains why responding law enforcement agencies investigate for clues that can help determine negligence. Policemen interrogate the people involved in the accident, both drivers and passengers, and eyewitness testimonies from people who saw the accident, if any. In filing their report, the police usually provide a professional opinion that includes additional information such as traffic and environmental conditions to see if these factors played a part.

Who might be liable in the event of an accident

Truck accidents are a few stages different from the usual incident involving two motorists. It requires thorough investigations that might find fault in one of the following parties. When negligence is found on their part, then they must answer for causing the accident.

The truck driver

Human error in these scenarios most commonly falls to the driver. There are a lot of factors that can point to driver error, such as being tired, distracted, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and more. They can even be liable if they’re found to have forged their qualifications.

Truck manufacturers

Faulty or defective parts sold to the company or provided to the driver are the manufacturer’s liability. They have a legal responsibility to ensure the quality of the products and services they provide. Their responsibilities extend from the vehicle design to manufacturing parts to properly informing clients through marketing efforts.

Trucking company

Companies are also responsible for their drivers. They must set aside a budget for regular maintenance and ensure that drivers don’t work more hours than they physically can.

Maintenance providers

If vehicle maintenance is outsourced, then it’s the service provider’s responsibility to ensure that the truck runs as it should. Depending on the investigation results, third-party maintenance companies usually share the liability with the company.

Cargo companies/loaders

Cargo or loading companies are in charge of loading their products onto the trucks. There are specific weight and balance considerations, and failure to exercise diligence in this process can contribute to an accident.

Liability doesn’t necessarily fall into the hands of a single party, as multiple factors might have contributed to the truck accident happening. However, negligence must be established to prove who’s at fault, whether accidentally or intentionally.

Takeaway

Trucking accidents are hazardous and life-changing events that everyone tries to avoid at all costs. However, should the unthinkable happen, it is essential to thoroughly examine available information and accurately identify who’s at fault. This is a highly technical matter; make sure you have the professional help you need. If you ever wind up in one, contact a lawyer immediately to ensure you don’t face this harrowing experience unarmed.