Injured Truck Driver Law Firm in Kentucky
Though their vehicles are large, this extra protection doesn’t mean truck drivers aren’t injured or killed in vehicle accidents. If you’re a driver who’s seriously hurt due to a vehicle accident, you have options to get compensation for your injuries.
Getting Injured or Killed on the Job is a Reality for Truck Drivers
Commercial trucks are involved in thousands of accidents each week. Each one puts a driver at risk of severe injury or death. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that in 2019 the number of accidents involving commercial trucks and buses was:
- 5,237 where someone was killed
- 127,000 where injuries resulted
The rates of fatal and nonfatal injuries of truck drivers of heavy trucks, tractor-trailers, and smaller delivery trucks were greater than the average of all private occupations in 2012, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
That year 756 truck drivers died in work-related accidents, while more than 65,000 suffered injuries and illnesses that resulted in time away from work. Truck drivers had a workplace fatal injury rate more than seven times higher than the overall workplace average.
Eighty-one percent of fatal injuries to tractor-trailer or delivery truck drivers involved transportation. Seventy percent of fatal injuries were caused by accidents on roadways, including crashes with other vehicles (27 percent). Nearly all (92 percent) of fatally injured truck drivers drove tractor-trailers.
Nonfatal injuries and illnesses among truck drivers were mostly unrelated to transportation (they caused about 14 percent of their injuries).
Options for Injured Drivers and Families of Those Killed at Work
- You’re an Employee
If you’re working when the injury happens, and a trucking company employs you, you should be eligible for medical and income benefits through workers’ compensation coverage. You should report the injury to your employer as quickly as possible. You’ll probably be given a form to fill out with details about your injuries and what happened.
Generally, whether you collect benefits doesn’t depend on whether you’re at fault or not. Exceptions include if you caused the crash on purpose or were doing something with the truck outside the scope of your job. Families of deceased workers can file for death benefits and a wrongful death claim against the parties responsible for the crash.
If the other driver or another party may be at fault, you can file a personal injury claim against their insurance company. If they don’t have insurance, or enough to cover all your injuries, you may be able to make a claim against your employer’s insurance to make up the difference.
- You May or May Not Be an Employee
Many truck drivers are considered independent contractors, rightly or wrongly. Some companies will use that label to avoid laws and taxes covering employees. If your employer denies your comp claim because they illegally classify you as an independent contractor, you can challenge that decision based on evidence showing that, under the law, you’re an employee entitled to benefits.
If the trucking company insists you’re not an employee and committed negligence by giving you an unsafe truck, and that caused the accident, you should consider suing the company instead of seeking comp benefits. You’ll face a higher standard of proof, but you may be awarded far more damages (payment of medical care, lost wages, pain, and suffering).
In your personal capacity, you could sue other parties who may be responsible for the accident and your injuries. Your family can use a wrongful death claim to seek compensation against liable parties if you’re fatally injured.
- You’re an Independent Contractor
If you’re not an employee, given the dangers of the job, you should purchase as much insurance as possible. Consider yourself your own trucking company. Buy the insurance a trucking company would purchase, such as liability and workers comp.
You also may want to buy private disability insurance in case you suffer a disabling injury. Liability coverage should defend you against claims by other drivers or parties who blame you for the accident.
If the truck you’re supplied is to blame, you can sue the trucking company paying you to drive. You could also sue all the other parties who may have contributed to the accident so you can receive compensation for your injuries, lost income, pain, and suffering.
If your injuries are fatal, your family can file a workers comp death claim if you bought that coverage for yourself and file a wrongful death action against those who contributed to your accident.
Speak To A Truck Accident Attorney Today
If someone else is negligent and caused you or a loved one to suffer injuries, the attorneys at Satterley & Kelley PLLC are here to help you take legal action. We will:
- Be with you every step of the way
- Protect your interests
- Ensure you get the compensation you deserve
To take advantage of a free initial consultation where we will discuss the facts of your case, call our office in Louisville, KY at 502-589-5600 or 855-385-9532. You may also complete our contact form if it’s more convenient.
Click here for our truck accident page to get more related information.