Truck Driver Injuries
As a truck driver who has been injured or fallen ill on the job, you may find yourself unable to operate your truck and earn wages you and your family desperately needed while you’re recovering from the work-related injuries or illness. You may feel you are in a precarious position, and you may be uncertain of your next steps. Although the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and Illinois Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act were designed to make it easier to recover compensation after work-related injuries, in practice, they include complicated procedures that can be difficult for truck drivers to follow without legal counsel. If you suffer injuries or are made sick on the job as a truck driver, it is crucial to retain an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we have more than 60 years of experience fighting for workers who’ve suffered because of significant and disabling job-related injuries.Truck Driver Injuries
Truck driver injuries may involve strains, sprains, repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel or tendinitis, slip and falls after leaving the cab of the truck, and truck accidents. Generally, staying sedentary in the cab of a truck for long hours and being exposed to vibrations from the large and heavy truck can expose a truck driver to a greater risk of chronic injuries. Likewise, truck drivers may face hazards in inclement weather or while loading and unloading their cargo. For example, if you are a truck driver who slips and suffers fractures while helping a client unload a truck in rainy spring weather, you may be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for those fractures.
In spite of significant regulation of truckers by the government, truck accidents in and around Chicago are common. When they occur, multiple people may be injured including the truck driver. Common reasons for truck accidents include speeding and distraction.
Workers’ compensation benefits are no-fault benefits, meaning your workers’ compensation benefits should not be reduced because you were partially to blame for the truck accident or your own injuries; even so, you may find yourself facing an uphill battle with your employer and its insurer when seeking benefits, particularly those are expensive.Jurisdiction for Filing a Claim
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides broad jurisdiction over workers’ compensation claims. If your contract of hire was made in the state of Illinois, you are covered by the Act and should receive benefits for job-related accidents, even if you were not injured within the State of Illinois. The Act also applies to all work-related accidents that happen within the state, even if your employer’s main base is not within the state.
The Act also applies to any injuries where your employment is localized within the state, regardless of where you were injured. For example, if the trucking company that employs you is based in Illinois, your work-related injuries would be covered even if you are an interstate truck driver who was injured while making a delivery in Tennessee. However, if your employer’s terminal is located out of the state, Illinois will not have jurisdiction over the claim unless you were injured in Illinois. For example, if you work for an Ohio trucking company that happens to have a terminal in Chicago, but you mostly make interstate deliveries and you were injured in Massachusetts, Illinois might not have jurisdiction over your claim. It’s important to seek legal counsel that can evaluate the particular facts of your claim.Filing a Claim
After you provide your employer with notice of your work-related injuries or illness, you may start receiving benefits. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean your claim has been accepted. The trucking company’s insurer may continue to investigate your entitlement to benefits. Sometimes it’s important to file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) even when you’re receiving benefits.
Assuming there is a reasonable argument for jurisdiction and your injuries were work-related, our lawyers will need to file a claim with the IWCC. The claim will need to be filed within 3 years after the accident date or within 2 years of receiving the last compensation payment from your employer’s insurer.Consult an Experienced Attorney for Truck Drivers
If you are a truck driver who was injured or a family member of a truck driver who died because of work-related injuries or illness, you should consult an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer. Our lawyers represent truck drivers in their workers’ compensation claims, along with personal injury and SSDI claims, 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.