Driving a big rig comes with its own unique set of challenges. Spending long hours behind the wheel can be physically exhausting and psychologically draining, and if your job involves loading and unloading, you’re doing hard physical labor as well.
There is also the matter of coupling and uncoupling trailers and regular truck maintenance that needs to be addressed. In other words, trucking is a demanding job no matter how you look at it, and injuries are not uncommon.
If you’ve suffered an injury in your capacity as a truck driver, it’s time to consult with a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney.
Workers’ Compensation for Truckers
Most employers in the State of North Carolina who employ more than three employees are required to carry workers’ compensation on them, which is designed to cover losses like the following – as applicable:
- A specific percentage of lost wages
- Necessary and covered medical expenses
- Compensation for injuries that prove permanent
- Vocational rehabilitation
However, workers’ compensation for truck drivers can be somewhat ambiguous – especially when more than one trucking company is involved.
In 2003, North Carolina addressed this concern with new legislation, which found that a driver’s status as a covered worker is dependent upon the common law test for the determination of employment status, which hinges on two primary factors:
- Who controls the duties the driver performs?
- Who pays the driver?
If the company that owns the truck controls the duties that the truck driver performs, then the company is responsible for covering the driver with workers’ compensation. Additionally, if a driver suffers an injury in an accident that occurs when they are working in a state other than North Carolina and the accident is one that will entitle the driver to compensation if it had happened in North Carolina, then they are entitled to workers’ compensation for truckers if one of the following applies:
- The employment contract was made in North Carolina.
- The employer’s primary place of business is in North Carolina.
- The employee’s primary place of employment is in North Carolina.
Workers’ compensation is a complicated matter in the best of times, but if you are a truck driver, it can be even more challenging, which makes working closely with a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney that much more important.
Common Injury Risks to Truck Drivers
The trucking industry is booming, and truck drivers tend to face considerable stress and tight schedules as a result. Other factors that can contribute to an increased risk of accidents include the following:
- Long hours on the road
- Irregular and sometimes erratic sleeping schedules
- Being on the road and living out of a cab for days at a time
- Long stretches of sedentary work with bursts of strenuous labor
- Little access to healthy food options and regular exercise
While a trucker’s lifestyle can contribute to health concerns, there are also specific situations in which truckers are most likely to be injured in the course of their work, including:
- When coupling and uncoupling tractors from their trailers
- When loading and unloading cargo
- When driving the big rig – truck accidents are far too common and are exceptionally dangerous
Some of the most common causes of injuries sustained by truck drivers include:
- Slipping and falling when climbing in and out of the cab, when on the loading dock, or when in the loading yard
- Being struck by cargo that’s improperly loaded
- Being struck by heavy equipment in the course of work
- Being crushed in between two unyielding objects in the course of work
- Sustaining an injury caused by overexertion
Common Injuries Suffered by Truck Drivers
Serious strains and sprains are one of the most common forms of non-fatal injuries suffered by truck drivers. Such injuries can affect a driver’s back, neck, shoulder, elbow, knee, or arm, and they are painful injuries that can seriously reduce the victim’s range of motion. Injuries of this nature are known as musculoskeletal disorders, and they can be caused by a single jerking or awkward movement or can develop slowly over time.
These injuries can not only interfere with a truck driver’s livelihood but can also affect their overall quality of life, which can lead to an emotional component. If you’ve suffered an injury in your job as a truck driver, it’s important to recognize that there is workers’ compensation for employees of trucking companies. Obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled is the surest means of protecting your rights and supporting your fullest recovery.
Look to an Experienced North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney for the Help You Need
If you are a truck driver who has suffered an injury on the job, bringing your strongest workers’ compensation claim is paramount, and the skilled workers’ compensation attorneys at Horton & Mendez in Wilmington and Leland are standing by to help.
We dedicate our practice to advocating for just claim resolutions for clients like you, and we’re here for you, too. For more information, don’t delay contacting or calling us at 910-415-1088 today.
FAQs About Workers’ Compensation for Truck Drivers
How do I know if I’m covered by workers’ compensation?
If you’ve suffered an injury on the job as a truck driver, the most important thing you can do after seeking the medical attention that you need is to consult with a trusted workers’ compensation attorney – who will carefully consider your situation in its entirety and help you navigate the best path forward. Truck drivers are often covered by workers’ compensation insurance, so don’t wait to reach out.
Is it necessary to work with an attorney?
Because your health and your future are on the line, it’s always in your best interest to have a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney in your corner.
Can I afford a workers’ compensation attorney?
Most reputable workers’ compensation attorneys are paid on contingency. This means your attorney will receive a predetermined percentage of your settlement or court award only after your claim has been successfully resolved.