Common Injuries Truck Drivers Experience
The freight industry is one of the largest industries in America. Every year, the trucking industry specifically brings in billions of dollars of revenue. For this reason, many individuals take up trucking as a career to boost their income potential.
However, the life of a truck driver is not always easy. Aside from countless hours spent sitting behind the wheel, it is also strenuous work to load and unload cargo—and driving a large commercial vehicle is quite dangerous and can lead to tragic traffic accidents. Due to these conditions, it is common for truck drivers to sustain numerous types of injuries.
Unfortunately, not all truck drivers are eligible for workers’ compensation to cover the cost of injury-related medical expenses and wages that they miss out on while recovering. Workers’ comp coverage depends on what type of worker you are considered, such as an employee or an independent contractor.
If you have questions about workers’ compensation eligibility, you should consult with a local attorney in your area. Workers’ compensation benefits and coverage can vary from state to state. A local Mississippi or Louisiana workers’ comp attorney can help you review your individual policy to determine if you are eligible to file a claim.
Filing for Workers’ Compensation as a Truck Driver
Again, workers’ compensation coverage will typically depend on what type of worker you are. Generally, employers with a certain number of employees must provide workers’ compensation benefits for their drivers in Mississippi and Louisiana. So, if you drive as an official employee for a trucking company, it is likely that you are covered.
However, if you are an independent contractor or an owner-operator, you would likely not be covered under any workers’ compensation policy. If you are a fleet owner yourself, you may be required to pay for a workers’ compensation insurance policy depending on how many drivers you have under your employ.
It’s also important to note that even if you are an official employee, it is not uncommon for employers to misclassify their drivers to avoid paying for a workers’ compensation insurance policy. If you have any concerns or questions about coverage, get in touch with a worker’s compensation attorney.
What Are The Most Common Injuries Truck Drivers Sustain?
Workers’ compensation claims are prevalent in the trucking industry due to the nature of this type of work. The type of injuries that are sustained can also vary significantly from one situation to the next. However, if you are eligible for compensation, you should be able to receive benefits no matter what type of injury you sustain, so long as it is a result of work performed on the job.
Below are some of the more common injuries seen reported on workers’ compensation claims. But again, the injuries can vary depending on the individual circumstances. If an accident were to occur while driving, for example, the injuries can be more severe than what is listed below. Traffic accidents involving large trucks are known to cause serious injuries, such as head and brain trauma, lacerations, internal damage, and more.
1. Back Strain
Back strains are prevalent in truck drivers because of all the sitting, as well as loading and unloading cargo. Sitting for hours puts a lot of stress on the lower back and hips, which can easily lead to a back strain or sprain. If proper support gear is not worn or heavy cargo is not lifted correctly, you can also strain or throw out your back while dealing with shipments.
2. Carpal Tunnel and Tendinitis
Having your hands and arms in one positing for an extended period, such as holding onto a steering wheel, can also lead to tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel and tendinitis can affect many areas of the body, but it is most commonly seen in the fingers, hands, wrists, and elbows of truck drivers.
3. Repetitive Stress and Strain Injuries
Other areas of the body can become strained when you perform the same motions over and over again for your job, which is common in the trucking industry. Overexertion or overuse of a muscle or part of the body can lead to a strain, especially if you don’t take proper care of your body and stretch after sitting for long periods of time behind the wheel.
5. Broken Bones
Fractures or broken bones are also common injuries for truck drivers who deal with heavy and dangerous cargo. If safety precautions are not adhered to, cargo can fall or come loose while you are loading or unloading at a dock. Or, you could slip and fall, which can cause a bone to fracture or break. Broken bones also happen often when traffic accidents occur.
Connect with an Experienced Mississippi and Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you are injured on the job, whether it is the result of an accident or a repetitive stress injury from sitting behind the wheel for long hours, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can cover medical expenses and a portion of your wages that you may miss out on while recovering from your injury.
Unfortunately, not all truck drivers are covered under a workers’ compensation policy, so it’s important to talk to your employer or with an experienced attorney to determine your eligibility. If your employer denies your benefits, but you believe you are eligible, contact an attorney right away.
For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Mississippi or Louisiana, contact Lunsford, Baskin, and Priebe, PLLC. After-hours visits are available.