On February 9, 2016, yet another tractor-trailer accident was added to the long list of similar accidents in recent years. According to news reports, the driver, a 22-year-old new driver, was simply driving too fast for conditions and plowed into the guardrail on the narrow bridge. According to the DOT, there have been an estimated 29 accidents in the same area over just a two-year period between 2013 and 2015, several of which included driver fatalities. This highlights the immense dangers drivers face every time they get in the cabs of their trucks. Professional truck drivers have some of the most common and frequent workers’ compensation claims. Here are just five of the most common injuries.
- Knee and Ankle Injuries
Drivers routinely sit for extended periods of time. When they do stop for fuel and food, they must exit and re-enter their cab carefully to avoid slipping on step boards, especially in snow, ice, and heavy rain. Simple slip-and-fall injuries while getting in and out of the truck are the most common injuries employers see.
While truck drivers are often vilified for bad driving habits, driving when tired, or reckless conduct on the roadways, this is actually quite rare when taking in consideration the vast number of miles an average driver travels in a year. The average truck driver can travel as many as 250,000 miles in a single year. This is more than most drivers of passenger vehicles will drive in 10 years! So the fact that drivers regularly go five to 10 years without incident (some a whole career) should stand as proof that most trucking industry employees are incredibly professional and skilled at their jobs. Nevertheless, with that many miles under their tires, accidents become much more likely. Professional drivers are at more risk of injury as well, due to the sheer size and weight of their rigs.
- Musculoskeletal Injuries
Those who are unfamiliar with the job may not realize just how much truck drivers do above and beyond driving. Flatbed drivers spend a considerable amount of time outside their trucks placing and removing heavy, bulky and awkward tarps. Likewise, most drivers must adjust their load, which involves getting under the truck and pulling and pushing levers in order to allow the trailer to slide forward and backward. This allows the weight to be more equally distributed for transport. Drivers are at risk of rotator cuff injuries, torn ligaments, and back injuries.
- Loading/Unloading Injuries
Not all drivers drive long distance. Some are local drivers, meaning they haul loads within a designated local or regional route. These drivers often are responsible for loading and unloading their own freight at every stop. This can involve pallet jacks, forklifts, and other manual devices used to leverage and move heavy freight. This can be an obvious source of injury.
- Pinch and Strike Injuries
Perhaps less obviously, drivers are often injured in ways that are somewhat unique to the industry. Drivers can be pinned behind a truck when assisting another driver with backing. Drivers are often hit by unsecured doors or while trying to work underneath trailers. Likewise, drivers unloading freight may slip in between trailers and docks. All these seemingly random injuries can be caused by equipment failure, poor working conditions, unsupplied tools and equipment, and by driver errors.
Injured Truck Drivers Should Always Get Help with Their Claims
When a professional driver is injured on the job, the company usually fights hard to make sure the driver does not file a claim for workers’ compensation. Trucking companies are notoriously difficult to work with and they have a lot of leverage. Drivers need to level the playing field by obtaining the very best representation available. If you are hurt on the job, call the Bader Scott Injury Lawyers to learn about your rights now. Time may be limited, so do not delay.