Workers Comp Attorney for Tractor-Trailer and Heavy Truck Drivers Injured on the Job
Truck drivers and tractor-trailer operators have an important role in the American economy. Without truck drivers we would not be able to enjoy the easy access we have to groceries, goods, products, and equipment.
Unfortunately truck drivers often pay the price for the conveniences that the rest of us take for granted. Long-haul truckers may have to spend days at a time away from their families to complete the job. The fatigue and exhaustion from long days and weeks on the road, as well as the physical demands of loading and unloading cargo, help explain why tractor-trailer truck drivers have some of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that more than 4,000 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in 2015. And thousands more truck drivers are injured while driving each year.
If you work as a truck driver, it’s important to be aware of the dangers you face and what you can do to avoid them or reduce their risk. Many truck driver injuries are due to traffic accidents or loading and unloading cargo.
This article discusses common truck driver injuries on the job and your legal options if you are an injured truck driver in Virginia. Your legal options include filing claims for workers’ compensation, personal injury, and Social Security Disability benefits.
Have questions about your legal rights as an injured truck driver? Contact Corey Pollard, voted one of the top personal injury attorneys and workers compensation lawyers in Virginia, for a free strategy session: 804-251-1620.
How Many Tractor-Trailer Drivers Work in the United States?
The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that roughly 1.9 million heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers worked in 2016. Many of these truck drivers worked in general freight trucking, specialized freight trucking, manufacturing, and wholesale trade.
What are Common Tractor-Trailer and Truck Driver Responsibilities?
Tractor-trailer truck drivers are asked to:
- Drive long distances
- Follow all applicable traffic laws
- Report their routes and incidents to a dispatcher
- Load cargo onto the trailer
- Unload cargo from the trailer
- Secure cargo for transport, using covers, ropes, bungee cords, chains, and blocks
- Conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections of the tractor and trailer
- Maintain a log of their working hours and mileage
- Report mechanical problems to their supervisor
- Keep their truck and trailer clean
Usually a dispatcher determines the truck driver’s route. It is, however, up to both the company and the driver to take legally required rest periods during the trip.
Typical Truck Driver Schedules
Most injured truck drivers that we have represented in truck accident, Virginia Workers Compensation, and Social Security Disability claims worked full-time at the time of their injury. Many worked nights, weekends, and even holidays.
The FMCSA enforces regulations that limit the number of hours that a long-haul truck driver may work. You may not work more than 14 hours straight. Of those 14 hours, you cannot drive more than 11 hours. The remaining three hours can be spent loading and unloading cargo or completing paperwork.
If you have worked 14 hours straight, you must take at least 10 hours off. And you cannot drive more than 60 hours within a 7-day period or 70 hours within an 8-day period. You must then take 34 hours off work before starting another 7- or 8-day driving run.
Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver Injuries in Virginia
Common work-related injuries among truck drivers in Virginia include:
- Vehicle accident-related injuries: Many truckers are safe drivers, especially since they must follow strict rules and regulations. But because of the size and awkwardness of the vehicles, truck accidents often result in serious injuries and extensive damage. We have represented truck drivers who were hurt when they lost control of their vehicle due to road conditions or weather or when they struck or were struck by another vehicle. These accidents can lead to spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, loss of a limb, and even death.
- Musculoskeletal disorders and injuries to the neck, back, and shoulders: Truck drivers may suffer injuries while loading and unloading the trailer, which requires lifting heavy boxes, containers, tanks, and bins. Truck drivers also have to use vehicle dollies or loaders to connect trailers, especially when pulling doubles.
- Falls on the same level: Navigating trailers and loading docks can be difficult. We’ve represented truck drivers who injured their back, knees, and ankles after falling while tripping on chains, boxes, or other items. We’ve also represented tractor-trailer drivers who slipped on water and wet substances in the back of the trailer and fell.
- Falls from heights: We’ve represented truck drivers who fell from stairs, steps, and even their vehicles while loading and unloading goods.
- Injuries due to being struck by objects: We’ve represented truckers who were injured after being struck by a trailer hitch, lift-gate, winch bar, or pallet jack.
- Forklift accidents: We’ve represented truck drivers who were injured in forklift accidents while loading and unloading cargo.
Truck drivers face a number of risks on the job. And each of these risks can cause serious injuries.
Unfortunately a serious injury that causes permanent partial disability can end a truck driver’s career. That’s why it is important to know your legal options so that you can protect your health and financial future.
Workplace Injury Statistics for Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
Tractor-trailer drivers have a dangerous job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
- 1 out of 6 American workers killed on the job is a tractor-trailer truck driver
- In 2014, more than 700 tractor-trailer truck drivers were killed on the job. Most of these were caused by transportation accidents.
- Tractor-trailer truck drivers have the highest number of nonfatal workplace injuries that require days missed from work to recover
You deserve a workers compensation lawyer for tractor-trailer truck drivers if you suffer an on-the-job injury that results in the need for medical care or time missed from work. We can help.
Your Legal Options after a Trucking Injury on the Job
You have three legal options if you are a truck driver who has been injured on the job:
1. Workers’ Compensation: Truck drivers who suffer work-related injuries may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia. Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, your employer’s insurance carrier will pay for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment and will provide wage replacement benefits if you miss time from work or suffer wage loss because of your restrictions. Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system, so truckers are entitled to receive benefits even if their own negligence or error caused the accident and injuries.
2. File a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent third party: As an injured truck driver, you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer for an on-the-job injury. But if someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to a workers’ comp claim. For example, you may have a personal injury claim against the truck manufacturer or automotive parts manufacturer if a faulty design or bad brakes caused your accident. You may also have a claim against another driver if his or her negligence caused your traffic accident. The benefits of filing a personal injury lawsuit are: a) there is no cap on the amount of compensation you can recover through a personal injury claim and b) you can receive compensation for pain and suffering through a civil action.
3. File a Social Security Disability claim: If you’re a truck driver who has suffered serious injuries that will cause long-lasting restrictions, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. These benefits are paid in addition to any benefits you receive under Virginia workers’ compensation or any verdict or settlement you receive through a personal injury lawsuit.
Speak to a Top-Rated Attorney for Injured Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers in Virginia
If you are a tractor-trailer truck driver who is concerned that your career is over because of a work-related injury, we can help. You’re probably worried about medical bills, permanent disability, and what you’re going to do for income. Fortunately there are Virginia laws that can help protect you and your family if you’re hurt in a work-related trucking accident.
Getting the compensation you’re owed won’t be easy. The insurance company will do everything it can to limit the amount of benefits and compensation you receive for your trucking injury. But Corey Pollard, a top rated disability and workers compensation attorney for truckers who operate tractor-trailers and heavy trucks, understands what you’re going through and how important it is to get all the medical care, compensation, and benefits you deserve for your truck accident claim. We’ll get to work for you.
We represent tractor-trailer truck drivers for all companies based in or transporting goods through Virginia, including: UPS; FedEx; J.B. Hunt Transport; YRC Worldwide; Con-way; Swift Transportation; Schneider National; Old Dominion Freight Line; Landstar System; Werner Enterprises; Arkansas Best; U.S. Xpress Enterprises; Estes Express Lines; Prime; R&L Carriers; C.R. England; Greatwide Logistics; Saia; Kenan Advantage Group; CRST International; Roadrunner Transportation Services; Knight Transportation; Southeastern Freight Lines; Covenant Transport Group; Ryder System; Anderson Trucking System; Heartland Express; Central Refrigerated Service; Western Express; and, Acme Truck Line. In other words, we are the workers compensation lawyer for tractor-trailer drivers.
Call, text, or email us today to schedule a free consultation. We’ll respond within one business day to schedule a meeting.