Workers’ compensation is a failsafe for both employers and employees in case of a workplace-related injury or illness. The government-mandated insurance protects the former from lawsuits and the latter from excessive loss from medical bills and missed wages.
However, not everyone who works qualifies for workers’ compensation. The trucking industry is an interesting example, because some truck drivers are self-employed and work as independent contractors. They are not technically employees of the trucking company that they do work for, so they may not qualify for workers’ compensation.
Which Truck Drivers Are Entitled To Workers’ Compensation?
Trucking is a big industry in Georgia. Companies like J&R Schugel, XPO Logistics, Millis Transfer and Quest Global pay truckers salaries upwards of $100,000 a year to transport goods within the state and around the country. Even delivery companies like UPS have huge semitruck fleets constantly on the go on Georgia highways.
Driving truck is tough work. People who are not familiar with the role often think it’s easy, but truck drivers know that’s not the case. Long hours behind the wheel leaves truck drivers susceptible to a number of occupational injuries, from lower back injuries to repetitive stress injuries from fighting the steering wheel day after day. Furthermore, they are at high risk of a car accident simply because they are on the road so much more than the average driver and because drivers of cars often do not know how to maneuver around semitrucks.
Thankfully, most Georgia truckers qualify for workers’ compensation if they are injured on the job. According to statistics from Trucks.com, only about 11% of truckers nationwide are self-employed and working as independent contractors. The rest are employed by the trucking company they do work for and thus eligible for workers’ compensation. Sometimes, truck drivers who are technically employees are misclassified as independent contractors, and when that happens they may be entitled to workers’ compensation even if their employer says otherwise.
Other Forms Of Compensation For Injured Truck Drivers
Workers’ compensation benefits may not be the only option for truckers hurt in motor vehicle accidents. When a truck accident is caused by the negligence of another driver on the road, the injured trucker may be able to file a personal injury claim. This may be in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.