Truck drivers face injury risks performing their job duties, and accidents during work can lead to lost time, medical expenses, and other damages. As a trucker, when your job causes your injuries or illness, and you’re classified as an employee, you have the right to open a workers’ comp claim in Georgia.
Determining eligibility for workers’ comp can be difficult, but Georgia’s system also requires that you take action quickly. Hire a trucking industry workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta immediately after your accident to verify your rights and to file a claim.
Causes of Trucking Injuries on the Job
Trucking can be a dangerous industry. Drivers operate heavy equipment when loading or unloading and may travel hundreds of miles per day. When an accident or injury occurs, that driver may be covered by their employer’s workers’ comp coverage.
Any work-related tasks could cause someone to suffer trucking injuries on the job. Research from the CDC states that one in three long-haul truck drivers have suffered some form of critical injury during their careers.
The most life-threatening event for any truck operator is a vehicle crash. The size, weight, and potential for carrying hazardous materials all increase the chances of serious injuries for truck drivers.
Injuries Truckers Suffer at Work
If you are currently driving as an employee of a trucking company, however, and suffer an accident or workplace injury, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Some of the most common injuries affecting truckers from accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
Other injuries can include internal bleeding, burns, seat belt injuries, and disfiguring injuries.
Truck drivers don’t only suffer the potential for serious harm while driving the truck. They could also be injured due to lifting, loading, slipping and falling, repetitive stress actions, and forklift accidents. If these were carried out in the context of the trucker’s work while he or she was an employee, this may turn into a workers’ compensation claim.
While many truck drivers do suffer injuries, not all of these turn into workers’ compensation claims. Certain truck drivers operate their vehicles as independent contractors, in which case they may not be owed financial compensation through the workers’ comp system for injuries and losses they suffer.
Are Truckers Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Georgia?
The most important factor in determining if a trucker is eligible for workers’ compensation in Florida is the classification of that worker. Truckers may be independent contractors or employees. Truck driving employees are covered from their first day on the job.
Those companies with at least three employees in Georgia are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. So truck drivers who are classified as employees may be eligible to collect from the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier following a workplace injury.
Workers’ comp in Georgia provides benefits for lost wages, funeral costs for fatal truck accidents, compensation for emergency medical care, ongoing medical therapy and care, and disability benefits.
Independent contractors or truck owner operators are not classified as employees under Georgia law and may instead have to obtain their own workers’ comp for owner-operator coverage in order to obtain benefits. If you don’t have any of these benefits, any active health or disability insurance policies may help you.
How Do You Start a Trucking Injury Work Claim?
One of the most important things to know after an accident is that you need to get medical attention and report this injury to your employer. You may be required to file a report immediately with your employer, or you could lose out on the opportunity to recover compensation.
Filing a truck accident claim can be complex. You have no longer than 30 days to notify your employer about a work injury, but it is recommended that you do so immediately. You will then need to complete a WC-14 form with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
On that form, you will need to detail your injury, how the accident happened, your employer’s information, and the date, location, and time of the injury. Your employer should take the following steps and file all documents required and notify their insurance company. The insurance company will then review your claim and determine whether or not your injury qualifies for benefits.
Make sure to continue attending doctor’s appointments and following their treatment plan while also keeping detailed records about your injury for the purpose of protecting your claim.
Can a trucking company fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
Most employees are worried about not just recovering from their current injuries but also protecting their future employment. It’s illegal for an employer to retaliate against you because you filed a legitimate workers’ comp claim.
If you’re a paid employee who gets hurt while carrying out work duties and you expect to miss time at work because of the injury, your workers’ comp claim may be your sole financial resource during your recovery period.
What medical bills are paid under workers’ comp?
Approved workers’ comp medical bills can include physical therapy, prescription drugs, travel expenses to and from doctor’s appointments, hospital bills, and doctor bills. If you suffer a catastrophic injury, you could be eligible for lifelong medical benefits.
You may be sent to a doctor by your employer post-accident. Continue to attend all appointments and take notes at these, too, as they may become necessary for your injury claim.
How a Truck Driver Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Helps Your Case
Being hurt on the job as a truck driver is hard enough, but there are numerous questions and issues to address after the injury, too. Trying to work through that on your own is challenging, especially if you’re learning to live with painful or even permanent injuries.
Let a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta shoulder that burden for you. The attorneys at Moebes Law have experience and knowledge about what’s required following a trucking accident, and they’ll help you with your injury claim. Contact us today to begin your case.