Commercial Truck Drivers

Commercial truck drivers face a wide variety of risks in their job. Truck driver injuries and illnesses account for 12 percent of all fatal workplace accidents.  When a commercial truck driver is injured on the job, claiming workers’ compensation benefits can be tricky with many claims being initially denied.

The South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP are dedicated to helping commercial truck drivers claim the maximum amount of benefits available. Serious injuries and illnesses related to the trucking industry often require long recovery periods that result in lost wages and high medical bills. Our experienced team of workers’ compensation lawyers work diligently to protect the legal rights of commercial truck drivers and claim the compensation they are entitled to receive.

Common Types of Commercial Truck Driver Injuries

The most common cause of truck driver injuries results from truck accidents. A commercial tractor trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when it is fully loaded.  When a truck collides with another vehicle, or gets into a jackknife, rollover, or rear-end accident, injuries can be catastrophic.

Truck drivers are also prone to many other risks, including repetitive stress, slip and fall injuries, being struck by heavy objects, and health complications related to sitting for long periods of time. Obesity and heart issues are common health complications for a majority of commercial truck drivers as long stretches on the open road leads to a poor diet and lack of exercise.

The most common commercial truck driver injuries and illnesses include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) resulting from accidents
  • Neck and shoulder injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Severe cuts and lacerations
  • Bone fractures
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Depression and anxiety

When one or more of these injuries or illnesses occur, a commercial truck driver can be forced off the road for long periods of time. When this happens, workers’ compensation benefits provide much needed compensation to cover lost wages, medical bills, cognitive or physical therapy, and prescription medications.

Claiming Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Commercial Truck Drivers

Commercial truck drivers that are employed by trucking companies and fleet owners are covered by workers’ compensation as mandated by law.  Unfortunately, a large majority of commercial truck drivers work as independent contractors, which can make claiming benefits difficult. Strict deadlines apply to filing claim, and missing these deadlines could result in a denial of benefits.

Workers’ compensation laws vary by state, but for truckers that are covered under an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance plan, claiming benefits typically includes the following process:

  • Report the injury or illness to the employer, usually within a mandated 30-day period.
  • Review the employer’s workers’ compensation policies to see if injured employees are required to see a company-dictated physician, or if the worker is permitted to be treated by their own physician.
  • Seek medical intervention and collect detailed records of all emergency room visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor visits, assistive therapy sessions, and prescription medications related to the job-related injury or illness.
  • Seek counsel of an experienced and reputable workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure all pertinent evidence is available, all deadlines are met, and the maximum amount of benefits are claimed.

What to Do If Workers’ Compensation Benefits are Initially Denied

It is not uncommon for workers’ compensation benefits to be initially denied, especially when a commercial truck driver is employed as an independent contractor. The appeals process for a workers’ compensation claim denial is best handled by a knowledgeable and skilled workers’ compensation lawyer.

Large trucking firms and fleet owners often have aggressive legal teams on retainer to fight claims. Going up against these giants is difficult since they most often have the time and money to invest in disputing a claim for compensation. A qualified and knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer will use their knowledge of workers’ compensation laws to claim the maximum amount of compensation available.

South Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP Help Commercial Truck Drivers Claim Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you are a commercial truck driver and were injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP at 856-761-3773 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden, Delran, Cinnaminson, Maple Shade, and Pennsauken.

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Coronavirus COVID-19 UPDATE:
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Coronavirus COVID-19 UPDATE:

Please be advised that in accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107, which imposed strict limitations on the operations of "brick-and-mortar" businesses and required telecommuting to the greatest extent possible, all N.J. workers’ compensation courts will continue to be closed to the public and to non-essential court personnel until April 13, 2020.

In response to overwhelming requests from the Workers’ Compensation Bar to hold non-emergent matters electronically or by teleconference, as of April 6, 2020, the following Workers’ Compensation Judges shall be designated by the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the N.J. Division of Workers’ Compensation as essential personnel and shall report to their home vicinages for the purpose of hearing as many Workers’ Compensation matters as possible by telephonic conferencing, including all emergent matters and the following non-emergent matters, pre-trial conferences, general motions for medical and temporary benefits, and settlements by affidavit:

Hon. Audrey Kernan, S.J., Atlantic City WC Courthouse
Hon. Arthur Marchand, A.S.J., Bridgeton WC Courthouse
Hon. Ingrid French, A.S.J., Camden WC Courthouse
Hon. Lionel Simon III, A.S.J., Freehold WC Courthouse
Hon. Diana Ferriero, S.J., Hackensack WC Courthouse
Hon. Jill Fader, S.J., Jersey City WC Courthouse
Hon. Glenn Kaplan, S.J., Lebanon WC Courthouse
Hon. Michael Luther, S.J., Mt. Arlington WC Courthouse
Hon. George Geist, S.J., Mt. Holly WC Courthouse
Hon. Ashley Hutchinson, A.S.J., New Brunswick WC Courthouse
Hon. Philip Tornetta, A.S.J., Newark WC Courthouse
Hon. William Roca, S.J., Paterson WC Courthouse
Hon. Maria Del Valle Koch, S.J., Plainfield WC Courthouse
Hon. Eugene Mulvaney, S.J., Toms River WC Courthouse
Hon. David Puma, S.J., Trenton WC Courthouse

The Division’s plan is to limit physical interactions in our workers’ compensation courts to the greatest extent possible and shift to the use of telephone conferencing, and if possible video conferencing for judges, attorneys, and litigants. There will be no in-person Workers’ Compensation Court proceedings (except for extremely limited emergent matters and certain ongoing motions for medical and temporary benefits and trials in which case social distancing will be enforced). Court offices will remain closed for in-person submissions. Filings will continue to be accepted electronically through COURTS On-line.

The N.J. Division of Workers’ Compensation’s number one goal is to limit the exposure and spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus to court personnel, attorneys and their staff, litigants, witnesses, and members of the public at large.

Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP also continues to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and its impact on our local community and the world at large. In accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107, our office is closed and the members of the firm continue to work remotely. As such, the members of the firm may have limited access to information during this time. We continue to appreciate your understanding. We encourage our current clients, new clients, and fellow members of the bar to contact us via e-mail as that remains the best form of communication. All attorneys and paralegals have access to e-mail and case information. We have designated essential personnel to report to our office for the purpose of handling emergent matters only and to complete essential administrative tasks. Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP remains committed to complying with all health and governmental regulations. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those most affected by this situation.