Injury During “Rest Periods”
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that truck drivers who are injured on the job can obtain workers’ compensation benefits from their employers. However, under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, truck drivers must take certain rest breaks, during which time they are not supposed to be operating their truck. As a truck driver, you may not be sure whether your injuries on a rest break count as work-related injuries for workers’ compensation purposes. These situations can be complex, and a lot may be riding on whether you can mount a successful workers’ compensation claim, including your family’s well-being if you are unable to work and incurring medical expenses. You should seek legal counsel. If you were injured during a rest period as a truck driver, call the seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We have more than 60 years of experience advocating for best results for injured workers.Injury During Rest Periods
Hours of service regulations have a huge impact on truck drivers and trucking companies. Under the FMCSA’s regulations, interstate truck drivers are required to take certain rest periods and this off-duty time is considered critical to avoiding truck accidents caused by fatigue, drug use, and other factors. They are mandatory. As a Chicago or Illinois truck driver who is injured during one of these mandatory rest breaks, you may feel worried and uncertain about whether you have recourse. You may not receive a straight answer from the trucking company you work for, and its insurer may focus on protecting profits rather than honoring your claim.
Rest periods can also present complicated legal questions if you were traveling out of Illinois while delivering cargo or for another errand for your employer. However, it is important to know that Illinois law treats you like a “traveling employee” when you have to be away from home for your job during a rest period. For example, you may live in Chicago, but need to make a delivery in Indiana. If you wind up needing to take a rest break in Indiana, you may still be able to file a claim for benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. So long as you’re injured while doing something foreseeable while you are traveling for work, you are covered by the workers’ compensation law.
Workers’ compensation benefits to which you may be entitled include medical benefits , disability benefits in the form of partial wage replacement, and vocational rehabilitation. For example, if you suffer spine injuries in a truck accident while driving to a motel at the start of your rest period, you may be able to recover benefits such as the cost of emergency care, surgery, medical treatment and roughly 66% of your lost wages.Third Party Lawsuits
In some cases, third parties are responsible for injuries sustained during a rest period. While workers’ compensation benefits are exclusive remedies against employers, lawsuits for damages may be brought against a third party such as a negligent driver or a negligent property owner. In most cases, damages awards in civil court are more significant than workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, in a lawsuit for damages, you may be entitled to noneconomic losses that you cannot recover in a workers’ compensation claim, and in cases of catastrophic injuries caused by someone else, these may be substantial.
If, for example, we could prove that you suffered fractures during a slip and fall while getting breakfast at a restaurant that was poorly maintained during your rest period, you may have grounds to bring a premises liability lawsuit and sue the restaurant owner for damages. Compensatory damages that may be recovered when our lawyers can establish liability include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.Consult an Experienced Attorney for Truck Drivers
If you lost a loved one due to work-related injuries or illness, you should consult an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer. It is crucial to retain legal representation as soon as you realize your loved one’s death was work-related. Our attorneys represent health care workers in Rockford, Champaign, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane, Cook, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.