Colorado Workers’ Compensation for Common Trucker Injuries & Occupational Illnesses
What injuries and ailments of truck drivers are covered by workers’ compensation?
Certain jobs, professions and occupations have specific disadvantages with respect to how it affects the human body. Factory workers, for example, often retire early because of back, shoulder, or leg injuries after many years of manual labor.
Truck drivers also frequently suffer from physical discomfort and pain at work, resulting from constant pressure on certain areas due to prolonged periods of driving — not to mention being bounced around in a tractor-trailer rig over the years. In addition, many truck drivers are required to load and unload their own cargo, adding even more potential for an overexertion or muscle strain injury in the workplace.
A person’s overall health can be impacted negatively when working long days and sitting for the maximum allowable hours behind the wheel. It’s not necessary for an injury to be the direct result of a sudden work-related accident for a truck driver to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Injuries that result from occupational illnesses, ailments and diseases may also be covered by workers’ compensation. However, often the knowledge of an experienced Colorado workers’ compensation attorney is needed to ensure that truck drivers get the full benefits they deserve.
Here are a few of the most common types of truck driver injuries that can result in a workers compensation claim:
Repetitive motion injuries
Repetitive stress injuries, back injuries and pelvic pain are undoubtedly some of the most common injuries from which truck drivers suffer, especially those who have been driving for years. Due in large part to these ailments, truck driving careers typically aren’t as long as other transportation workers.
Operating large trucks can take its toll on the driver’s body over the years merely from the number of hours spent sitting behind the wheel. When additional labor-intensive duties such as loading/unloading cargo and performing vehicle repairs are added to a truck driver’s job, their personal health can be even more affected.
Take this example of a question we received via our contact form:
“I’m a 59-year-old truck driver. About 8 years ago, after I started long routes, I started developing pelvic pain. It has gotten to the point where I am unable to deal with it. I’ve seen doctors and specialists uncountable times and have found no relief. I’ve been told it is probably related to my job. At my age it is kind of late to start a new career. Do I have any recourse with workers’ comp? At this point I don’t see any good options.”
If this individual’s pelvic pain can be diagnosed and linked to his or her job as a truck driver, then workers’ compensation is certainly one option for recourse.
Vehicular accident injuries
At some point in their career, most truck drivers are involved in an accident of some kind. Many drivers have driven for years without a mishap, but sooner or later a truck accident happens. Failure to use proper care when loading cargo on flatbeds and in box containers at points of origin are common causes of truck accidents. Plus, truck drivers can be caught in the middle of two heavy loads. In addition, truckers are required to drive in bad weather conditions that can easily cause an accident.
Like everyone else in the transportation industry, truck drivers are extremely vulnerable to accident injuries and fatalities. These vehicle collision injuries clearly fall under the scope of work-related injuries, establishing eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits or even a disability determination in serious crashes.
Common accident-related injuries include:
- Broken limbs
- Head trauma and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Back injuries
- Lacerations (cuts)
Overexertion and muscle strain injuries
While it’s reasonable to think that working long shifts will result in some soreness, chronic pain and soreness can be an indication of a serious underlying medical issue. These problems tend to develop over a long period, or when truckers strain a muscle after loading/unloading their cargo.
The problem for many truckers is convincing their employer that the physical pain and discomfort they’re experiencing from overexertion or muscle strain is actually an injury that is worthy of a workers’ compensation claim. For this reason, it’s important to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney when evaluating the need for medical attention and a potential claim. Temporary soreness may be normal, but ongoing pain in any part of your body is not.
Slip and fall injuries
Injuries resulting from work-related slip and fall accidents are surprisingly common in the trucking industry, and they can be very serious when the driver suffers traumatic head, neck, or back injuries. All it takes is one fall to end a driving career, and slip and fall workers’ compensation claims are very common among truck drivers.
Truck drivers frequently work in dangerous environments such as factories or loading docks that are commonly plagued with bad housekeeping. Truckers also regularly spend time working in bad weather conditions that result in wet or icy walking surfaces.
Injured while driving a truck? Contact a Colorado workers’ compensation lawyer
Never assume that you cannot collect financial recovery through a workers’ compensation claim if you’ve suffered an injury or illness related to your job as a truck driver. Despite what your employer might say, you could very well have a valid claim and be eligible for benefits including payment for medical treatment, lost wages and more.
When you contact our experienced Colorado workers’ compensation attorneys, we’ll review your case and inform you about your legal rights. The attorney you choose to represent your case can have a major impact on the final outcome of your claim. In Colorado, the difference-maker is The Babcock Law Firm.