Common Work Injuries Sustained by Maryland Truck Drivers
Collisions- The most common and most obvious type of accident that a truck driver is involved in is automobile collisions. The inherent risk of their job lead truck drivers regularly exposed to auto accidents. Some truck drivers spend 4o to 50 hours a week driving on Maryland and national interstates. Often, regularly dodging accident rather than creating them. The job demands defensive driving. Whether it be a rear-end collision, the truck driver being forced to veer off the road to avoid injury, or a side swipe truck drivers can often sustain injuries that are covered under Maryland workers compensation laws. Most recently there was a 55 car pile up on I95 in Baltimore due to icy conditions. While some of these drivers may have been negligent in some regard they will still be entitled to Maryland workers compensation benefits. (see video) Almost all of these accidents will be covered under Maryland workers comp laws if the driver’s employer is located in Maryland. If the driver is employed by a Maryland employer but is injured while picking up or dropping off a load in another state they may still be covered under Maryland workman’s comp laws. If the driver is negligent or caused the accident himself the truck driver would qualify for Maryland workers compensation benefits. Negligence is not a consideration under Maryland workman’s comp laws.
See Maryland Workers Compensation Statistics HERE.
Rigging- The second most common work injury I see sustained by Maryland truck drivers are those associated with unloading, loading, and securing the load. Again, in a great majority of these accidents, if the driver works for a Maryland based employer but is injured in another state they will still likely be covered under Maryland workman’s comp laws. Some examples of work injuries Maryland truck drivers sustain when securing loads include shoulder injuries while throwing ratchet straps over the load, shoulder injuries while attempting to cover a dump truck load, falling off the truck and general rigging injuries. For those truck drivers that have to load or unload product themselves the accidents are numerous. Pulling and maneuvering pilot jacks seem to cause a fair share of injuries, especially when dealing with heavy products. Shoulder strains, back strains, and neck strains are experienced regularly. Hand truck injuries seem fairly common among truck drivers as well. I have represented numerous clients that have sustained shoulder and back injuries when the load on the hand truck was excessive. Again, even if the truck driver was negligent in overloading the hand truck they would still qualify for Maryland workman’s compensation benefits.
Falls- Like all occupations slips, trips, and falls are a possibility. Unlike all occupations, truck drivers are exposed to the elements which can often lead to an increased risk of falls while on the job. For the 40 hour a week driver, if they are not at risk of getting in an auto accident it is because they are walking to and from a delivery point or stopping for a break. Under Maryland law, most truck drivers would be covered for any injury sustained while in route to or from a delivery. This means that if the truck driver stops for a break and slips on ice while walking into a restaurant they would be covered under workman’s comp.
Maryland Workman’s Comp Attorney Necessitated
If there is ever a time for a workman’s comp attorney to be involved in a case it is when a truck driver sustains injuries because of the negligence of another driver or another person. Under Maryland law the truck driver could have two legal claims. First of which would be a workers compensation claim. Second of which would be a third party lawsuit. These cases are complicated by liens, medical payments, subrogation, and both administrative and judicial proceedings.
In essence the driver would file a Maryland workman’s comp claim and also file a lawsuit against the negligent third party- that being either another negligent driver or a person who caused injuries to the truck driver.
Maryland auto accident and a Maryland workers comp claim-Best of Both Worlds
In the ordinary lawsuit a plaintiff may have to pay for their medical treatment upfront, may have to sustain initial loss of income, and can be burdened to some extent. When there is a workman’s comp claim the medical benefits should be paid for by the workers compensation insurer. The insurer would also be legally obligated to pay for lost wages. The injured truck driver would benefit from these benefits and also have an opportunity to recover from a third party lawsuit.
Also, in these circumstances the employer would benefit from being paid back a portion of the workers comp expenses they have sustained through a lien on the third party lawsuit. The employer enjoys benefits they would not otherwise see if the case was simply a workman’s comp claim with no third party lawsuit.