How Georgia truck drivers can receive compensation after a work-related accident, injury or illness
Georgia has more than 1,248 miles of interstate highway, nearly all of which truckers can be found performing the essential and important task of transporting the products, goods, and equipment our economy needs to thrive.
We salute the hard work and dedication that truck drivers show, which is why our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys frequently stand up for injured truckers across the state of Georgia.
Trucking is a dangerous profession. In addition to the increased risk of being involved in an auto accident, Georgia truck drivers also frequently get injured at loading docks, warehouses, rest areas, and many other locations. Many truckers will suffer long-term disability and be forced to rely on workers’ compensation to help see them through.
Unfortunately, the process is not always easy. This is where a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer can help.
Common causes of work-related trucking injuries
When people think of trucking injuries, they automatically envision terrifying highway accidents. While this is often the case, a trucker’s on-the-job injuries are not limited only to crashes.
For instance, many big rig operators have to load and unload their own freight and may, therefore, be susceptible to back injuries. Others may spend time in a warehouse waiting to be unloaded. In these dangerous environments, they can be subjected to loud noises, chemicals, falling freight, and other hazards.
Truck drivers must constantly be aware of dangerous situations. Unfortunately, many experience violence when they must drive through seedy areas or park in unsecured locations overnight. The FBI reports that there are approximately 35 armored truck robberies in the U.S. each year; however, other trucks are frequently targeted for their freight as well.
In addition, truckers must routinely deal with fatigue and extreme weather conditions. These things make them more vulnerable to experiencing an accident regardless of whether or not they are behind the wheel. For example, they may slip and fall at a truck stop while walking to or from their rig.
Common types of trucking injuries
When truck drivers experience an accident, they could be subject to any of the following injuries:
- Second or third-degree burns
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Lacerations and cuts
- Muscle strains and sprains
- Concussions or other head injuries
In addition, truckers commonly suffer from occupational illnesses and chronic health conditions due to the nature of their job. Such conditions can include:
- Heart conditions
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Sleep apnea
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Carpal tunnel
- Back and neck pain
Challenges of truck job-related injuries
Trucker injuries are sometimes complicated by the fact that they occur far from home. This can sometimes make it more difficult for workers to file claims or obtain medical reports. This, in turn, can slow down a workers’ compensation claim and could even result in the insurance company denying it outright.
Some truckers wait until they have run their usual route to report an injury in order to avoid missing a delivery deadline. Excessive delays can sometimes result in the denial of benefits or affect the amount of benefits they receive.
Professional drivers are under tremendous pressure to remain accident-free. As such, they may sometimes avoid filing a claim because they fear retaliation. Don’t let fear keep you from obtaining the benefits you rightly deserve. Allow a workers’ compensation attorney in Georgia to help you stand up to your employer.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia
If you are injured as a trucker, first seek medical attention and then contact your employer as soon as possible. A supervisor or your company’s human resources department can normally assist you with filing a claim. This will involve completing Form WC-14 and then filing it with Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
Upon filing a claim, your employer’s insurance company will have up to 21 days to investigate your report. They must either approve or deny your claim at the end of that time frame. You will receive a written letter notifying you of the insurance company’s decision.
If your claim is denied, you are eligible to file an appeal. In that case, having an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer represent you can greatly increase your odds of success. Even if your claim is approved, you may nonetheless desire an attorney to help you navigate the settlement process and calculate the full value of your workplace injury.
Workers’ compensation for owner-operators in Georgia
Not all professional drivers work for a trucking company. Many truckers are self-employed owner-operators and independent contractors. Workers’ compensation for owner-operators in Georgia is not required by law. As a result, many truckers don’t carry insurance.
Even if you have voluntarily elected not to have workers’ compensation coverage as a truck owner-operator, you could still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. You may be able to file a third-party personal injury claim against another driver, a business, or the owner of a building where you were hurt.
Don’t give up on collecting damages just because you are self-employed. Contact an experienced lawyer to help you determine your best course of action.
Why hire a work injury attorney near you?
Many workers’ compensation claims are initially denied due to glitches or other technicalities. Our experienced attorneys can identify problems with your claim that might prevent it from being approved. We will fight to ensure you receive ALL of your benefits by negotiating a fair settlement or taking your case to court, if necessary. When faced with an appeal, our attorneys can prepare you for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).