Sunday, March 11, 2012

Truck Drivers and Minnesota Workers’ Compensation

When people think of “truck accidents,” they tend to think about crashes where pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants of other vehicles are hurt when they’re involved in a crash with a truck. While these people certainly can be injured if they’re involved in crash with a semi-truck, a tractor-trailer, an 18-wheeler truck, or another large truck, often times, the drivers of those trucks often sustain injures as well.

Truck drivers involved in on-the-job crashes often sustain serious injuries, including burn injuries, internal injuries, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and even death. Single-truck crashes, such as when the truck malfunctions, or operator makes an error, or the driver loses control on an icy road, can also result in severe injuries.

Truckers are also more susceptible to other types of work-related injuries. Truckers commonly develop shoulder, elbow, and wrist injuries as a result of driving truck for extended periods of time. Truck drivers also commonly sustain injuries while pulling the fifth wheel pin, performing maintenance on the truck, slipping and falling getting in and out of the truck, or unloading the truck.

Fortunately, many truck drivers are covered by workers’ compensation, which provides medical expense benefits, wage loss benefits, permanency benefits, and/or rehabilitation benefits, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

Truck driver workers’ compensation claims often involve a number of complicated legal questions. Over-the-road or long-haul truckers often sustain injuries in states other than where they live, or where their employer is located, which can raise questions as to jurisdiction. Trucking companies often call their drivers “independent contractors,” and argue that they are not entitled to workers’ compensation coverage. Truck accidents also often involve third party liability claims, or fault-based claims against parties other than the driver’s employer.

These can be complex and contentious cases. If you’re a truck driver who resides in Minnesota, if your truck company employer is based in Minnesota, or if you’re a truck driver who sustained injuries in Minnesota, call Meuser & Associate for a free, no-obligation case evaluation at 877-746-5680, or click here to send us an email.


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