The Job of a Truck Driver Is Dangerous and Demanding
Truck drivers have the important job of transporting goods and materials across the country and around town. They are the ones making sure supplies are delivered to construction sites on time and stocking our grocery store shelves with the food we buy each week. Unfortunately, the job of a truck driver is dangerous and demanding. Long haul trucking involves loading and unloading heavy cargo, spending hours behind the wheel, and avoiding traffic accidents. These hazards put truck drivers at risk for serious injuries that could keep them off the road for months or even years.
While they do have dangerous jobs, truck drivers are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover the costs of recovery in case of an injury. Here’s a look at the payments available to truck drivers in California.
Workers’ Compensation for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers who are injured on the road or on a site are eligible for a few main benefits under workers’ compensation.
- If you’re hurt on the job, you will receive payment for all reasonable medical expenses related to treating your injury. While your claim is under review, your employer’s insurance company is responsible for paying up to $10,000 of your medical costs, even if your claim is ultimately denied.
- You are entitled to temporary disability benefits equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage. Your average weekly wage is calculated as the pre-tax amount you were earning at the time of your injury. In 2018, the minimum rate is $182.99 per week (up from $175.88 per week in 2017) and the maximum rate is $1,215.27 per week (up from $1,172.57 per week in 2017). You can receive temporary disability benefits for up to a total of 104 weeks.
- If your doctor determines your injuries have left you with permanent limitations, you will receive permanent disability benefits. The amount you receive will be based on the permanent disability rating given to you by your physician. The rating is determined by a complex equation that takes your age, occupation, and injuries into consideration.
- You may be eligible for a supplemental job displacement benefit if you receive a partial permanent disability rating and your employer doesn’t offer you modified work. The benefit is a $6,000 voucher you can use to pay for training or certification in a new line of work.
If you were involved in a traffic accident, you and your employer may also be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent driver to collect additional payment. This is not part of your workers’ compensation claim. However, your employer will have a right to claim lien on the recovery from the third party.
Employees vs. Independent Contractors
It’s worth mentioning that only truck drivers who are classified as employees can receive workers’ compensation benefits. Independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation. If you have been injured on the job and believe you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, it’s important to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney.
Are you having difficulty collecting workers’ compensation for your trucking injury?
Many employers attempt to classify truck drivers as independent contractors to minimize or avoid workers’ compensation payouts. Luckily, a recent ruling by the California Supreme Court has made it more difficult for companies to do this. If you’ve been involved in an accident related to your job, you should receive fair and full compensation for your injuries.
At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, our workers’ compensation attorneys have decades of experience defending the rights of truck drivers in California. Call us today at (619) 528-9800 to see how we can help you get the benefits you deserve.