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Workers Compensation For Truck Drivers: Are We Entitled To Benefits If We’re In An Accident?

The last thing anybody wants to experience is an on the job injury. Unfortunately, work injuries are not uncommon, particularly in the transportation industries. Year after year, truck drivers are injured at higher rates than those in other industries.

Many people wonder if truck drivers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they are involved in an accident. There is often confusion surrounding this issue, particularly if a truck driver is not an employee but rather an independent contractor driving for somebody else.

Here, we want to discuss what California law says about workers’ compensation and the trucking industry.

Workers’ compensation is required

All motor carriers and truck fleets are required by law in California to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Therefore, any driver operating a vehicle for a trucking company should always be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

If a company fails to provide workers’ compensation insurance for drivers, the company could face significant legal repercussions and face a civil personal injury lawsuit from an injured driver.

Workers compensation coverage in California should provide for:

  • Any medical bills sustained by the injured driver
  • Temporary disability benefits equal to two-thirds the average weekly wage
  • Permanent disability benefits if a driver is left with a permanent disability that prevents them from working
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits
  • Death benefits paid to the deceased’s dependents if the driver loses their life in an accident

What if a driver is an independent contractor?

California has struggled over the last few years when it comes to the classification of certain workers as employees or as independent contractors. Many trucking companies employ drivers as independent contractors. This saves the company money, including not having to pay workers’ compensation benefits.

Recently, voters in California passed Proposition 22, which allows companies to continue to use independent contractors in most circumstances. In these cases, unless the independent truck driver has paid for their own workers’ compensation insurance, they will have to rely on vehicle insurance to cover their medical expenses after a crash.

However, this does not guarantee they will receive coverage and will depend heavily on which party was at fault. Workers’ compensation benefits are automatic regardless of which party causes a crash, but that is not the case with vehicle insurance compensation.

Truck crashes often result in severe injuries

Many people tend to focus on injuries that occur to drivers and passengers inside traditional passenger vehicles in these cases. However, it is not uncommon for a truck driver to also sustain an injury. Due to the size and weight of large commercial trucks, these incidents can cause severe injuries.

It is not uncommon for our attorneys to help victims in these cases who have sustained:

  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions
  • Open head wounds
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Other severe back and neck injury
  • Severe lacerations
  • Crush injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding

Will you need an attorney?

It may be necessary to secure assistance from a skilled California truck accident attorney in these cases. A Riverside Workers’ Compensation attorney who has experience handling truck crashes and workers’ compensation claims will be incredibly beneficial.

The attorney can obtain any evidence needed to prove liability, work with all parties involved, and help ensure that the injured worker receives any compensation they may be entitled to, whether that includes workers’ comp coverage or a settlement from an auto insurance carrier.