Driving a truck exposes you to numerous risks every day. Unfortunately, the chance you will eventually suffer an accident is high. In fact, more 100,000 crashes involving large trucks and buses cause injuries every year. In some cases, these accidents are due to adverse driving conditions, whereas other times they are caused by equipment failure — either of the truck itself or at the loading dock.
If you suffer an accident, you may experience severe injuries that mean you are unable to work. Workers’ compensation benefits could be the solution to cover your medical bills and lost income.
Are You an Employee or Independent Contractor?
Drivers of all types of truckers can receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, you are only eligible if you are an employee rather than an independent contractor. Companies often try to argue that their workers are independent contractors to avoid paying for workers’ compensation benefits, but they don’t always win.
Just the fact that you receive a 1099 rather than a W-2 is not enough to determine you’re an independent contractor — your employer may have misclassified you. The distinction will ultimately come down to factors like your method of payment, control over your work schedule, and who provides the equipment you need for work.
What About When You Are at Fault?
It doesn’t matter who was at fault when claiming for workers’ compensation benefits.
Furthermore, you should never assume that you were at fault, as it’s not uncommon that an investigation finds another cause for the accident. For instance, your truck may have had a defect, the truck could have been loaded incorrectly, or your employer may have been negligent when carrying out a repair. If someone else was at fault, you may be entitled to additional compensation.
Filing a Claim Against Another Driver
Workers’ compensation benefits have no impact on your right to file an insurance claim against any other drivers involved in the accident. This is actually an important practice, as workers’ compensation benefits can be limited.
Steps to Take After an Accident
It is critical that you take the right steps after your accident to improve your chances of receiving full compensation. You should request a police report even if the accident is minor. Also take your own pictures of the scene.
Another essential step is to receive medical attention to assess your injuries straight away. You’ll need to have records that document your condition after the accident. If you have serious or permanent injuries and are unable to continue driving, you could be eligible for full compensation, which includes long-term medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
Finally, you need to report the accident to your employer. In Kentucky, you are required to do this as soon as possible. You then have up to two years to file your workers’ compensation claim.
It will be difficult to receive the maximum you are entitled to without legal support. Find an attorney who has experience with trucking accidents, as different regulations apply than with car accidents. Your attorney will help you gather the documentation you need for your case and find expert witnesses. This will improve the chances you receive all the damages you are entitled to.
Contact The Fleck Firm today to see how we can help you. Remember, the insurance companies have lawyers, you need one too!