Truck drivers put in long hours on the road to make our economy run. Unfortunately, this exposes truckers to a range of serious injury hazards unique to the trucking industry. Unlike most other types of workers, truckers are constantly behind the wheel, creating a high risk of an eventual auto accident. Truckers can also suffer from repetitive strain injuries, debilitating back injuries, or injuries caused by assaults and violent attacks.
If you were injured at your trucking job in Charlotte, turn to the workers’ compensation lawyers of the Ramsay Law Firm for experience-driven representation you can trust. Our founding attorney, Martha Ramsay, is a Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist who has been handling work injury claims for more than 20 years. Whether your claim was denied, your benefits were cut off prematurely, or you simply have questions about how and where to file a claim, our trucking injury attorneys are here to help. For a free consultation, contact our law offices at (704) 376-1616 today.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Injured Truckers in NC
Trucking companies are generally required to provide workers’ compensation coverage under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. Regardless of whether you are classified as an employee or as an independent contractor, you may be covered by the Act.
Your employer may have told you that you do not qualify for workers’ compensation because you are covered by a different type of insurance called Occupational Accident Insurance (OAI), which is more restrictive than workers’ compensation, applying only to specific injuries. Though some motor carriers opt to carry OAI in addition to workers’ compensation, it is unlawful to use OAI as a substitute for workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage, or has recently denied your claim, you should discuss your legal options with our trucking workers’ comp lawyers right away.
Various types of trucking injuries are covered by workers’ compensation laws, provided they were not self-inflicted or caused by your intoxication. For example, your claim would be rejected if you were injured in an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol. Common trucker injuries that may entitle you to benefits include:
- Back injuries, such as a bulging or herniated disc
- Broken bones, such as a fractured arm or leg
- Cuts, lacerations, puncture wounds, and other injuries that cause bleeding
- Facial injuries, such as a broken nose
- Head and brain injuries, including concussions
- Hearing loss and vision loss
- Repetitive strain injuries, such as wrist injuries from constant driving
- Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains
Truck Driver Workers’ Compensation Rates
Workers’ compensation is calculated as a flat percentage of the wages you were earning before you were injured. In North Carolina, that percentage is approximately 66.66%. Therefore, your benefits depend on your pre-accident earnings. For example, if you were previously earning a salary of $43,000 per year, you could receive up to $28,380, over the course of a year, to partially replace your lost wages, if you were disabled throughout the 12-month period. Benefits are capped at a maximum of $978 per week as of 2017, though this limit will increase in 2018.
Benefits are paid on a weekly basis. You may be able to continue receiving benefits for as long as you are unable to work due to your injury or up to 500 weeks. In cases where a truck driver is killed in a fatal accident, death benefits may be available to his or her surviving dependents.
Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help You File a Claim
If you or your spouse is a truck driver who was injured while working, you may be able to get compensated by filing a workers’ compensation claim, which can provide benefits for lost wages, reasonable medical care, and other expenses related to your injuries. However, it is important to have legal help when you are going through the claims process, which is subject to strict and complicated workers’ compensation laws.
Representation by a skilled attorney increases the likelihood that your claim will be approved, because your attorney will understand precisely what evidence to gather and how it should be presented. Your attorney will also be able to protect your rights if your claim is unfairly denied, if you are improperly diagnosed, or if your benefits are terminated improperly.
Make sure you have legal guidance from an aggressive, experienced trucking injury benefits lawyer if you were hurt at your commercial trucking job. For a free legal consultation about workers’ compensation claims in North Carolina, call the Ramsay Law Firm at (704) 376-1616.