Are Owner-Operator Truck Drivers Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Arkansas?

Workers’ Compensation covers a wide variety of employees, but independent contractors are typically excluded. Owner-operator truck drivers may opt for Workers’ Compensation insurance, but it is not required by law.

An owner-operator truck driver in Arkansas should purchase or at least consider Worker’ Compensation insurance. Because these drivers are not considered “employees” of the people who hire them, they are not covered by any other Workers’ Compensation. Not only that but filing a lawsuit against the person who hired the truck driver is unlikely to lead to compensation since the truck drivers themselves are responsible for almost all the maintenance and upkeep of their truck. You should consider getting Workers’ Compensation insurance because you might end up in an on-the-job accident with no way to cover your expenses. Although Workers’ Compensation is not required for owner-operator truck drivers, it is strongly recommended.

As an owner-operator truck driver, you might have limited options for compensation after a work-related accident. Our Arkansas Workers’ Compensation lawyers can help you figure out how to get your own insurance. Call us for a free case review at (479) 316-0438.

Workers’ Compensation for Owner-Operator Truck Drivers in Arkansas?

According to Arkansas Code § 11-9-103(a), every employer and employee is subject to Workers’ Compensation requirements. Generally, employers with three or more employees are required by law to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, owner-operator truck drivers are typically not included in the definition of “employee.”

Owner-operator truck drivers are workers who own their own trucks and drive for trucking companies willing to hire them. Rather than being considered employees of the trucking companies, owner-operator truck drivers are typically independent contractors, and their employers are actually clients. As such, they are excluded from Workers’ Compensation requirements and are not covered by any insurance carried by the trucking company that hired them.

While owner-operator truck drivers are not covered by an employer’s insurance (because employers are more like clients), they are free to purchase their own insurance. Unlike standard employers, owner-operator truck drivers are sole proprietors and have a choice as to whether they buy themselves Workers’ Compensation insurance or not. Our Bella Vista Workers’ Compensation attorneys can help you figure out if you are required to purchase insurance or if you can explore other options after a potential injury.

Legal options for Injured Owner-Operator Truck Drivers in Arkansas

When deciding whether you should purchase your own Workers’ Compensation, you should consider what kind of legal options you would have without it. Suppose you were injured while working as an owner-operator truck driver. Since you are an independent contractor rather than an employee, you cannot file a claim with the trucking company’s Workers’ Compensation insurance. The trucking company would not be your employer but your client.

One unique opportunity independent contractors have is the ability to sue. Normally, employees subject to Workers’ Compensation laws are barred from suing their employers, and Worker’ Compensation claims are the only possible legal option. As independent contractors, owner-operator truck drivers can sue, but the odds of success are low. Our Crawford County Workers’ Compensation attorneys can go over your legal options if you have been injured on the job.

Truck accidents are rarely the fault of the truck companies that hire owner-operator truck drivers. All maintenance and upkeep of the truck fall on the owner-operator, making them responsible for accidents and injuries. Barring an exceptional circumstance, such as injuries related to cargo provided by the trucking company, you likely would not have a strong case against the employer/client.

Why You Should Get Workers’ Compensation as an Owner-Operator Truck Driver in Arkansas

You should consider purchasing your own Workers’ Compensation insurance so that you have additional legal options for compensation to fall back on. Lawsuits against employers/clients are not likely to be successful. Lawsuits against third parties, like other drivers behaving negligently, might be an option, but you will want other options just in case.

For example, suppose you want to sue another driver on the road who cut you off and caused an accident, but there is little evidence, or the defendant cannot be found because they fled the scene. In such a case, you would want your own Workers’ Compensation insurance to fall back on, so you have at least some form of financial compensation. Even without insurance, we can help you file a lawsuit against other negligent drivers.

Truck accidents can be very dangerous, and injured truckers often cannot return to work for a long time. Having Workers’ Compensation might help you make ends meet while you recover without having to go through a legal battle in court. Our Rogers Workers’ Compensation attorneys can advise you of what kind of insurance options you have as an owner-operator truck driver and any other legal options you might want to explore.

Is Workers’ Compensation Required for Owner-Operator Truck Drivers in Arkansas?

Workers’ Compensation is required for some but not all employers and employees. Typically, as mentioned earlier, employers with at least three employees working for them are legally required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. Since independent contractors, like owner-operator truck drivers, are exempt from these requirements, they are not required to have any Workers’ Compensation insurance.

If you choose to get Workers’ Compensation insurance, you will file a claim with your insurance in case of a work-related accident. For example, if you were in a crash on the road and were too injured to continue working until you recover, Workers’ Compensation would cover things like medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. Since you would file through your own insurance, there is no need to go through an employer or notify them of your claim.

Call Our Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Assistance

If you are an owner-operator truck driver without any Workers’ Compensation insurance, you might be in trouble in the event of an accident or injury. Our Springdale Workers’ Compensation lawyers can help you determine if you are covered or need your own insurance. For a free case review, call (479) 316-0438.