Being a professional trucker driver is a tough job – tougher than most people realize. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that truckers face a disproportionately high risk of job-related fatalities, serious illnesses, and injuries.
This heightened health risk is likely caused by multiple job-related factors, including the long hours truckers spend on the road, the sedentary nature of the job, and the bursts of strenuous, repetitive-motion activities that follow long periods of sitting. Collisions, falls, and warehouse accidents also play major roles.
Common Types of Trucker Injuries
- Neck/Back Injuries. Given the nature of the job, it’s not surprising that long-haul truckers often suffer painful neck and back injuries. Unloading and loading heavy cargo, sitting for hours at a time, and even the constant vibration of the truck may contribute to such injuries. The neck and back may become sprained or strained, which can causing debilitating, long-term pain.
- Upper Extremity Injuries. Sprains, fractures and other injuries in the shoulders, elbows, arms, hands and wrists. are common among truckers. These injuries are often caused by repetitive or strenuous activities such as pulling the fifth wheel pin, lowering landing gear, and raising and lowering the truck hood. Certain trucking habits and postures, such as perpetually resting your hand on the vibrating gearshift or driving with one elbow on the window frame, can also lead to upper extremity problems.
- Lower Extremity Injuries. Injuries to the leg, knee, ankle and foot injuries are rife among truckers as well. These may include ligament injuries, meniscus tears, and cartilage and bone injuries. Most are caused by slipping on the truck’s stair, having cargo fall upon you, repeatedly carrying heavy boxes or equipment. Some lower extremity injuries can be exacerbated by long periods of sitting or frequent use of the gas/break pedal, which makes it virtually impossible to work while so injured.
- Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain injuries. Truckers involved in truck accidents and collisions have an increased risk of suffering catastrophic spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries than drivers of standard cars and trucks. This is most likely because a tractor trailer’s great height and weight make it more difficult to maneuver, and because some truckers have slower reaction times thanks to fatigue and extended work hours. Spinal cord and brain injuries usually require years of extensive treatment and rehabilitation, often requiring a trucker to leave the job.
Why Injured Truckers Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
A truck driver’s job isn’t like any other – a fact that can make the workers’ compensation process more complicated and cause some drivers to receive inadequate compensation for their injuries. A few of the workers’ compensation complications truck drivers face are:
- Truckers are paid by the mile, not by the hour. This can make it more difficult to calculate the pay and bonuses due to you.
- Truckers may become injured far from home or their employer’s base. Because of a truckers’ extensive travel schedule, you may have trouble finding an appropriate workers’ compensation doctor or receiving reimbursement for your injuries.
- Certain trucker injuries are difficult to document. The cause of neck, back or shoulder pain won’t necessarily show up on an MRI’s or X-rays, which may cause an employer to dispute your claim.
- Truckers face substantial earning capacity losses. Truckers earning a healthy income may be forced to leave their job due to devastating or debilitating work-related injuries. Because it can be difficult to find a new job at a similar income level, this should be taken into account when fighting for compensation.
A workers’ compensation lawyer experienced in truck driving injuries will know how to successfully navigate such complications and help you recover the full compensation you deserve.
The California workers’ compensation lawyers at the Appel Law Firm LLP are committed to helping California-based truck drivers who have been injured on the job recover full and fair compensation. Contact The Appel Law Firm for a free consultation 925-938-2000.