We continue our series this week on “Paying Bills After an Injury” by discussing workers’ compensation as one of the options.
In the coming weeks, we will post more detailed articles on the workers’ compensation process and benefits. In this two-part introductory post, we provide an overview of the workers’ compensation system and benefits that may be available to you.
Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system designed to compensate workers injured in work related accidents. This means that a truck driver injured in a work related accident does not have to show that his or her employer was “at fault” or negligent to recover workers’ compensation benefits. In most cases, a trucker can even recover workers’ compensation benefits when he was at fault for causing the injury.
Workers compensation in the United States dates back to 1908 when the federal government established a no fault compensation system for federal employees. Many states quickly followed, although some states did not establish a “no fault” workers’ compensation system until 1925 and later. Now, all 50 states have some form of “no fault” workers’ compensation system.
The amount of compensation owed to injured workers is determined by a schedule that is established by each state’s legislature. Generally,a trucker’s permanent disability benefit depends on his injury/impairment rating (given by a doctor), average weekly wage, and the part of the body that is injured. For example, if you have an injury to the right arm and a disability rating of 25%, the permanent disability payment can be calculated using that rating plus your average weekly wage.
Workers’ compensation benefits are in important protection for injured workers to ensure that they can pay their bills and receive medical care. These benefits are particularly important in the trucking industry because professional truckers are injured at a higher rate than almost all other workers. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workers in the transportation and warehousing sector are injured on the job at nearly twice the rate of the average worker. The most common injuries suffered by truckers are sprains, strains, and tears, and the most injured part of the body for truckers by far is the back.
Truckers don’t just suffer more on-the-job injuries, the injuries they suffer are on average much more serious than injuries suffered by other workers. This means that injured truckers miss more work than the average injured worker. The difference is dramatic. The average injured trucker misses twice the amount of work (and by extension loses roughly twice the income) of other injured workers. What this means is that on average, injured truckers suffer substantially larger wage losses from their injuries and have larger workers’ compensation claims.
Unfortunately, the dangers of the trucking profession also lead to many on-the-job deaths. Again, the difference between the trucking industry and other professions is dramatic. In 2010 alone, 631 deaths were reported in the transportation and warehousing sector, which includes trucking as its largest component. Transportation incidents (which include many trucking accidents) accounted for 25% of all on the job deaths in 2010.
Workers’ compensation is critically important in a situation where a trucker is killed on the job. Workers’ compensation generally pays a death benefit to the family of the deceased trucker to replace a portion of the lost income.
We have been helping injured truckers and their families recover workers’ compensation for over 40 years. The workers’ compensation law is very complicated and there are many exceptions. We know the law and we know the games that are played by trucking companies and insurance adjusters. We can help you recover the benefits you are owed. We will also explain the other options available for paying your bills and obtaining medical care as your workers’ compensation lawsuit works its way through the legal process.
In part two of this workers’ compensation segment,we will discuss workers’ compensation benefits in more detail. Let us know if you have any questions about workers’ compensation, and we will try to answer your questions in our up-coming post. You can call us at 855-448-7887 (855-448-7887) or email us at [email protected]. We would love to hear what you have to say!