Trucking is a dangerous job. Between the risk of truck accidents and health conditions caused by sitting for long periods of time, you could be at risk of many different injuries and illnesses as a trucker in Texas. You will most likely have different recovery options when it comes to obtaining financial compensation for your occupational injuries, however, compared to other types of workers.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Is Not Required in Texas
You may face a lack of workers’ compensation insurance coverage at your job as a truck driver. Texas is currently the only state that does not make workers’ compensation insurance a requirement for most employers. Unfortunately, this means that many trucking companies do not carry workers’ compensation insurance at all. Instead, they may enact their own work injury benefit plans – often to the detriment of their employees. With their own benefit plans, trucking companies are in charge of how long to pay benefits and what injuries are covered. This can make it difficult to obtain fair and full financial compensation if you’re injured on the job.
Workers’ Comp Is for Employees, Not Independent Contractors
The second issue you may encounter is being ineligible for benefits even if your employer does have workers’ compensation insurance in Texas. The Texas workers’ compensation program is only for those workers who are legally classified as employees. This often does not cover truck drivers, as many are classified as independent contractors or owner/operators. This makes them ineligible for workers’ comp coverage under state law. Make sure that your employer has properly classified you as an independent contractor before you decide not to file a claim, however, as misclassifications are common.
Your Recovery Options as an Injured Truck Driver in Texas
If you get injured while on the job as a truck driver in Texas, report the accident to your employer right away. If you are classified as an employee and your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, ask to file a claim. Your employer should help you with the filing process and send the required forms to the Division of Workers’ Compensation by the deadline. A successful workers’ comp claim could reimburse you for all of your medical bills, two-thirds of your lost wages, disability costs and death benefits if a loved one passed away.
If you find out that workers’ compensation coverage is not available to you, your next step should be to contact a workplace injury lawyer to discuss your other financial recovery options. If negligence played a role in your accident, injury or illness as a truck driver in Texas, you may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Negligence is the failure to act with reasonable or ordinary care, resulting in injuries to others.
If anyone else’s negligence caused or contributed to your injuries, you may be able to hold that person or party financially responsible for your related medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. It will be up to you or your attorney, however, to prove negligence. For example, if you were injured in a truck accident that was caused by a distracted motor vehicle driver, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance carrier for coverage if you have proof of driver distraction.
Another common cause of trucking accidents is part breakdowns. For instance, if your employer was negligent and failed to properly maintain the truck you were driving, resulting in a tire blowout accident, you could bring a lawsuit against your employer for damages. If you need assistance determining the cause of your injuries as a truck driver in Texas, contact an attorney at Hill Law Firm. Our lawyers can carefully analyze your case and list all of your options for obtaining financial recovery as an injured truck driver.