To Whom Does the Truck Driver Give Notice of an Accident?
Truck drivers often work long hours and are susceptible to both chronic and acute injuries. As a truck driver who is injured in a job-related accident, you may find yourself uncertain about where to obtain recourse, particularly if you have been misclassified as an independent contractor rather than an employee. It is crucial not to miss the narrow window within which to give notice of work-related injuries to your employer, or the entity you believe may be your employer. You should not assume that a trucking company’s characterization of your employment status is accurate or that you don’t need to give notice because you filed an incident report in connection with the accident. If you suffered work-related injuries after a truck accident, you should consult the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We have sixty years of experience advocating for best legal outcomes for workers who have been injured not only in workers’ compensation claims, but also personal injury lawsuits and SSDI claims.Notice of a Truck Accident
Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act section 6(c), you need to give notice of an accident to your employer as soon as practicable, but no later than 45 days after an accident. Typically, for truck drivers, this is a trucking company, but in some cases, it may be a different type of company. You’ll need to provide oral or written notice to the entity that employs you, since workers’ compensation benefits are for employees. While oral notice is technically fine, it is wise to put your notice in writing, such as by email, and save a copy for yourself, so that the trucking company or other employer cannot later deny receiving the requisite notice to avoid paying you benefits. There are instances in which a truck driver is an independent contractor who will need to seek other legal protection, so it’s important to talk to a lawyer about your particular situation.
You’ll also need to file your claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) within 3 years of an accident or 2 years of the last workers’ compensation payment. If you miss the statutory notice period, you should be sure to consult an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney, since your claim can be barred if you delay. When we represent a truck driver who was injured in a work-related accident, we try to figure out whether any exceptions apply and file his or her claim immediately.
While there are certain exceptions and loopholes in connection with notice, such as when an injured employees obtains certain health insurance benefits through a group plan, it is important to talk to a lawyer about whether an exception applies to your case.
Section 8(j) also applies to the statute of limitations, not just the notice requirement. So once again, let’s say you miss the 3-year deadline for filing your claim, but insurance has been paying for your treatment. This is means you may still be able to file your claim.Workers’ Compensation Benefits
After providing your employer with notice of work-related injuries that are disabling such that you are not able to work or drive your truck, you may immediately start to receive disability benefits. This is not necessarily an acceptance of your claim, and it may still be important to retain a lawyer who can put an Application for Adjustment of Claim on file with the IWCC, appear at status hearings on your behalf, and advocate for you to receive the full scope of benefits to which you’re entitled, based on your particular injuries.
In some instances, insurance companies start by paying disability benefits and medical expenses, but abruptly stop paying them. Your insurer should you written notice of a denial of benefits that states the reasons the claim was denied. Common reasons a claim is denied after notice is given include an insurer’s stance that injuries are not work related, a truck driver has a pre-existing condition, or failure to give timely notice to the employer. You should not assume these denials are valid.
There are situations in which it may be appropriate to seek damages in a third party lawsuit, or make a claim under a different kind of insurance policy.You Should Talk to an Experienced Attorney for Truck Drivers
If you are a truck driver who was injured on the job or a loved one of a truck driver who died for job-related reasons, you should take care to give notice to the entity for which you work, even if you are unsure about whether you are entitled to benefits, and you should also seek legal representation. Our seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers represent truck drivers 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.