Truck driving is a dangerous occupation that routinely appears in annual lists of the 10 most hazardous jobs in the United States. Trucking companies place drivers under considerable stress to make deadlines and to cover long distances. They drive hours through the night and face a range of health problems. Attorneys are sometimes asked whether a truck driver can sue their employer for injuries after an accident in Maryland.
Although it’s possible for a driver to bring a personal injury action against an employer in certain limited circumstances, injuries to employees usually fall under the worker’s compensation system. There is no question that trucking is dangerous and drivers face a wide range of potential injuries. Baltimore truck accident attorney Randolph Rice explains common injuries that can occur as a Maryland truck driver and whether or not you can sue your employer for them.
The Most Common Injuries to Maryland Truckers
The U.S. Department of Labor warned one in six workers killed on the job in America in 2016 was driving a commercial truck. In 2014 alone, 761 tractor-trailer truck lost their lives on the roads. Many more suffered serious and life-changing injuries.
More than half of all wrongful deaths of truckers are caused by injuries related to vehicles. Tired truckers may lose control of their big rigs. Rollover truck accidents carry a high fatality rate. These often occur when tractor-trailers run off the highway. Other vehicles often cause accidents that leave Maryland truckers seriously injured.
Slips and Falls
Truckers often suffer slips and falls when loading their vehicles or getting out of their cabs. Knee and back sprains are common consequences of slips and falls.
Truck driving puts strains on the body. Just being at the wheel for hours on end can cause back and neck sprains. Musculoskeletal injuries are linked to loading and unloading and the use of dollies or loaders.
Claiming Worker’s Compensation for a Maryland Truck Accident Injury
Workers’ compensation is the most common way to get compensation from your employer for a work injury as a trucker. You should be able to file a workers’ compensation claim when you are hurt on the road as long as you are not an independent contractor.
Workers’ compensation is broad. It covers occupational illnesses as well as injuries caused in trucking wrecks.
You should be able to make a claim if you develop a repetitive stress injury or an illness from driving or from exposure from hazardous materials you were transporting.
The benefits cover your medical bills and partial lost wages if you need to miss work or if you become temporarily or permanently disabled.
In certain circumstances, a truck driver who ends up injured may be able to sue his or her employer or another party for the injuries.
When Can a Maryland Truck Driver Sue for Personal Injury?
You can sue your employer in the following scenarios:
- Your employer failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance. – With very limited exceptions, every company in Maryland with one or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. You have grounds to sue your employer in civil court or collect money from a state fund if your employer flouts this regulation.
- Intentional misconduct – If the trucking company willfully acted to create a hazard and a dangerous condition caused the employee’s injuries, the trucking company is not immune from a negligence lawsuit. An example is a trucking company that deliberately fitted fault tires on a truck to save money.
Who Can Truck Drivers Sue for Accident Injuries
Other parties may also be held liable for a trucker’s injury. They include.
Vehicle Part Manufacturer
If a driver is hurt by faulty brakes, tires, or another vehicle part, he may have grounds to sue a manufacturer in the case of a defective product.
Loading or Shipping Company
Most trucking companies employ separate agents to load trailers. This is a demanding job controlled by stringent regulations. The North American Transportation Association points out the shipper will often load the trailer, secure the freight, and put a seal on the trailer doors. The driver or another representative of the trucking company is often not present when the truck is loaded. The shipping company often bars drivers from the loading dock.
On occasions, shoddy loading causes crashes. If a load is poorly distributed, a truck becomes unbalanced and can tip over on a curve or when changing lanes. On occasions, badly secured loads like logs and steel pipes have crashed into the cab, injuring the driver. Poorly secured loads can also slip onto the road, causing an accident hazard. An injured driver can sue a shipping company for injuries.
If a hazard injures a trucker on someone else’s property, he may have grounds to sue the property owner. A falling object at a warehouse or ice left untreated on a parking lot that causes an accident can result in a premises liability claim.
A trucker can sue another driver who causes an accident with injuries. Car or motorcycle drivers may cut off a tractor-trailer, causing it to crash off the road. On busy roads like the I-695 Baltimore Beltway, many truck drivers are involved in wrecks with other tractor-trailers. When a big rig driver crashed into another truck, the victim may sue the at-fault driver and the other trucker’s employer.
Third-party injury lawsuits can make it possible to be compensated for items that workers’ compensation doesn’t include such as money for pain and suffering caused by an injury. However, the injured truck driver must prove that someone was negligent or failed to live up to his or her obligations to file a personal injury suit.
Talk to a Baltimore, MD Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Accidents involving trucks are often more complicated than those involving cars. The stakes are high in these wrecks and payouts for injuries are often higher. Although big rig crashes normally cause more serious injuries to drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles, truckers can often suffer serious injuries.
Some truck drivers transport dangerous cargoes like flammable liquids. They risk terrible burns and other injuries in these accidents. Our Baltimore truck accident lawyers help tractor-trailer drivers who suffer injuries in wrecks.
The congested roads of Maryland are stressful and dangerous places for truckers. The trucking companies place their drivers under massive pressure. We will advise you of your rights under the workers’ compensation and personal injury law. Call a Baltimore personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a trucking accident in Maryland at (410) 694-7291. We offer free consultations.