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Truck Driver Workers’ Comp Attorney in Arizona

Truck Driver Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Arizona

If you drive a truck for a living, you run a higher risk of suffering a work-related injury than many other types of employees. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics recently found around 43,500 tractor-trailer drivers suffered injuries that required days off work in a single year. And trucking remains one of the deadliest occupations in the nation.

Arizona workers’ compensation laws allow most employees to pursue benefits to provide financial support while they recover. But the situation gets tricky regarding workers’ comp for commercial drivers. Truckers employed by a trucking company stand a good chance of qualifying for benefits. But if you operate a semi-truck as an independent contractor, you may have to take a different route to seek compensation. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer from Matt Fendon Law Group can help determine your legal options if you sustained an on-the-job injury.

Our firm’s founding attorney, Matt Fendon, is a certified workers’ compensation specialist with a deep understanding of the challenges employees face after a workplace injury. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.

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Can Truck Drivers Receive Workers’ Compensation?

The Industrial Commission of Arizona requires most public and private sector employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have one or more workers. This rule applies to both full-time and part-time employees. A few industries are exempt from this requirement, but the trucking industry is not one of them.

Most Arizona employers purchase workers’ comp insurance through a private insurance company. However, companies can insure themselves if they meet certain state requirements. (You can find a list of self-insured trucking companies here.)

If you are a truck driver for a trucking company in Arizona, your employer should provide you with some workers’ compensation coverage. But sole proprietors or independent contractors may not qualify for workers’ comp benefits.

That said, some companies misclassify truck drivers as contractors even though their duties should have them qualify as regular workers. If you think you are misclassified, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. It could be a clerical error or a deliberate attempt to get around rules to provide workers’ comp for truck drivers in Arizona.

What If My Injury Was Not Work-Related?

Workers’ compensation is available to eligible truck drivers regardless of who is at fault for the injury. However, workers’ compensation coverage only applies to work-related injuries.

Figuring out what counts as a work-related injury can be difficult for truck drivers. A good rule of thumb is that if the injury happened while you were involved in a job-related task, you are most likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Imagine you were injured in a crash on your way to drop off your cargo. You would most likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits no matter who caused the accident. Driving is the main activity truck drivers perform, so if you’re involved in a truck accident in the course of a delivery, any injuries you suffer would likely be considered work-related.

But let’s say you got hurt before you were on the clock. Any injuries that occur before your shift starts would likely not entitle you to workers’ compensation. If you don’t know whether or not your injuries are considered work-related, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you.

Third-Party Claims for Truck DriversThird-Party Claims for Truck Drivers

Workers’ compensation benefits are the main avenue for compensation for most injured truck drivers. But there’s a trade-off. Employers that provide no-fault benefits to workers are immune from most negligence lawsuits under Arizona law. But for some employees, it could be possible to file a third-party personal injury claim if someone (not the employer) is responsible for the accident.

Independent contractors may also have valid third-party claims against the company that contracted them for work. In both cases, the injured party would need to prove that the employer acted negligently in some way and that their negligence specifically caused their injuries.

Matt Fendon Law Group handles workers’ compensation claims for truckers but can provide referrals to experienced truck accident attorneys in Arizona who can determine their eligibility for a third-party claim.

Common Truck Driver Injuries

Truck accidents can result in severe injuries to drivers, such as:

  • Broken bones
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Neck injuries and back injuries
  • Burns
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Crushed, severed, or amputated limbs
  • External injuries to the head and face
  • Emotional distress

However, traffic crashes aren’t the only ways trucking workers get injured on the job. Workers’ compensation claims may also arise from:

  • Falls while loading or unloading cargo
  • Repetitive stress injuries from carrying, lifting, and unloading heavy boxes
  • Being hit by heavy or falling objects (e.g., lift gates, cargo palettes, etc.)

What to Do If You’re Hurt While Driving a Truck for Work

A successful workers’ compensation claim can provide money for a trucker’s medical expenses and lost wages. They may also receive disability benefits. But to obtain benefits, you will need substantial proof of your work-related injury. Protect your claim by taking these steps after an injury:

  • Document the accident scene. Take pictures with your phone, get the names and insurance information from anyone else involved, and write down any witnesses’ names and contact information.
  • Report the injury to your employer. Notify someone in a supervisory role and put the report in writing so you have a record of when you gave them notice.
  • See a doctor immediately. Tell the physician the injury is work-related and be as descriptive about your injuries as you can without exaggerating your symptoms.
  • Save all the evidence you can. This includes crash scene photos, police accident reports, medical records, and driving logs. Other physical evidence may be relevant, such as the clothes and shoes you were wearing if you slipped and fell on a loading platform.
  • Don’t give any recorded statements. Anything you say to your employer or the insurance carrier can potentially be used against you to minimize or deny your claim.
  • Talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can identify the information you need to support your claim and recommend the best strategy for pursuing benefits.

We Fight for Phoenix Workers’ Comp for Truck Drivers

At Matt Fendon Law Group, our workers’ compensation attorneys fight to protect the rights of disabled and injured workers throughout Arizona. Our legal team has specialized knowledge and a commitment to providing exceptional service to every client. If you suffered injuries while driving a truck for work, we can help you prepare your workers’ comp claim and represent your interests from start to finish.

Call or contact us today for a free case review. Our workers’ compensation team is available 24/7 to provide support and answer your questions.

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