Trucking: Am I really protected if I get injured on the job?
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.