The commercial trucking business is a billion-dollar industry in the United States. Commercial vehicles are used each day throughout the country to transport goods from one place to another because it is an efficient and cost-effective means of transportation. However, commercial truck accidents result in serious and traumatic injuries. During 2014, commercial truck accidents killed 3,903 people and injured 111,000 people. While most of those fatalities and injuries were occupants of other vehicles, a significant percentage of the victims were occupants of the commercial vehicle.
Who Pays the Drivers Expenses in Commercial Truck Accidents?
For workers’ compensation benefits to apply to commercial truck accidents, the driver must have been operating the vehicle within the “scope of employment.” In other words, the driver must have been performing the tasks assigned to him by his employer. For example, if the crash occurred while the driver was on a side trip to pick up an off-books load to make extra money, workers’ compensation benefits may not apply because the truck driver was not within the scope of employment — he was operating outside of the parameters set by his employer.
However, most commercial truck accidents occur during the normal scope of employment. Therefore, Indiana’s Workers’ Compensation Act would cover the truck driver’s medical bills and some other losses. The driver may be entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits, but he is not entitled to sue the employer for any damages above and beyond the benefits.
Third Party Claims in Commercial Truck Accidents
Workers’ comp benefits don’t cover all damages in a work-related accident. Therefore, it is important to hire a Bloomington workers’ compensation attorney to investigate the possibility of a third-party claim.
A third-party claim is a personal injury claim against another party who is at-fault or partially at-fault for the accident. For example, if the brakes on the truck were defective, the driver may have a claim against the manufacturer of the brakes and the company who marketed and sold the brakes. Another example would be if a driver turned left in front of the truck causing the collision. The other driver would be at fault for the accident.
In a third-party claim, the driver can receive full compensation for his or her damages, in addition to receiving compensation for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages can be substantial in commercial truck accidents. Filing a third -party claim can provide the truck driver with substantially more compensation than a workers’ comp claim alone.
The employer could also be liable in some very limited circumstances. Consulting an Indiana workers’ comp lawyer to determine if any other parties are liable for your commercial truck accident is recommended. The truck driver may have one or more claims depending on the liability rules that apply in the case.
Bloomington Attorneys for Commercial Truck Accidents
You may have more than one option if you have been injured in a commercial truck accident. Our attorneys don’t leave any stone unturned. We investigate all causes of action to determine the best way to protect your interests. We want to ensure your rights are protected so call our office for your free legal consultation and case evaluation.
Call The Ken Nunn Law Office at 1-800-CALL-KEN or 1-800-225-5536 to speak with a Bloomington workers’ comp lawyer. You may also reach our office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through our Live Chat feature.