Most people know the dangers that truck drivers face when driving, but many people are unaware of the dangers truckers face when loading and unloading cargo. Loading and unloading materials, goods, and products from trucks are daily activities for a truck driver, and these activities are also a regular and frequent source of workplace injuries and fatalities. Unfortunately, while unloading a pallet from the back of a truck, a pulled back or strained shoulder is all too common. But what do you do if you have been injured while loading or unloading your truck? Can you receive compensation disability benefits?
Fortunately, the Arkansas Worker’s Compensation Commission (AWCC) was established to enforce the workers’ compensation laws in Arkansas and to ensure that all covered employers secure insurance coverage from commercial carriers or through self-insurance programs. Additionally, the AWCC regulates workers’ compensation awards to ensure that benefit providers make correct and timely payments to eligible claimants. While employers have the right to challenge a claim filed by a worker, some may abuse this authority and discretion. If you encounter resistance from your employer or the AWCC questions your claim, an experienced lawyer can fight for the benefits you are entitled to receive. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a personal injury lawyer who has worked with trucker drivers and understands many of their common concerns call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law by dialing (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.
Common Loading and Unloading Injuries
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that truckers can experience a wide array of injuries while loading or unloading cargo from their truck. Some of the most common injuries that may entitle you to receive workers compensation disability benefits include:
- Back Injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Fractured and broken bones
- Severe strains and sprains
- Head injuries
- Muscle soreness
- Becoming stuck under falling objects
- Injury from sharp objects
- Contact with harmful substances
If you are thinking of filing for workers’ compensation, there are some things you should know. For instance, injured truck drivers and workers can receive an array of medical benefits to treat their injury or delayed onset condition.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits available to Truckers
The law generally provides three kinds of workers’ compensation benefits in Arkansas:
- Medical care to treat the injury – This includes not only doctor bills, but also includes coverage for medication, hospital costs, x-rays, and costs for lab tests. The coverage extends to costs for all reasonably necessary services and is paid directly to the provider by the employer’s insurance company or the self-insured employer. Generally, the employee does not have to pay a deductible.
- Rehabilitation services – This may be an extension of medical treatment and generally includes physical therapy. If your injury results in permanent disability, you may qualify for additional services such as vocational rehabilitation.
- Cash payments – Cash payments are by far the most common benefit that injured workers receive. These payments are often made during the healing process while the employee is unable to work. However, if the injury results in a permanent impairment, such as the amputation of a leg, an injured worker may be paid permanent partial disability benefits after being released to return to work. An injured worker may also be entitled to wage loss if their impairment affects their pre-injury wages. If the injury resulted in death, payments may be made to surviving dependents.
While cash benefits may be the most common form of workers’ compensation benefit, they come in different forms depending on the type of the injury and the extent the injury has on the worker. If you are thinking of filing a workers compensation claim there are some important things for you to understand about the types of wage benefits a trucker may be entitled to receive.
What Type of Wage Benefits Can a Truck Driver Receive for a Loading or Unloading Injury?
The amount of wage compensation you may receive is based not only on your salary but also on your level of disability. The levels of disability and accompanying wage benefits are as follows:
- Temporary total disability (TTD) – Injuries that are believed to be recoverable from but nonetheless severe and 100% debilitating. Temporary total disability is capped at 450 weeks and 66.6% of the gross average weekly wage. It is also subject to state maximum payments.
- Temporary partial disability (TPD) – An injury or disability that is not complete and expected to resolve. This category is also subject to a 450-week cap
- Permanent partial disability (PPD) – Permanent partial disabilities will not improve and do not result in 100% disability. There is a schedule set forth in §11-9-521 detailing the payments for each affected body part.
- Permanent total disability (PTD) – Permanent total disability is the most serious level as the condition will not improve and is a 100% disability. Permanent total disability claims filed on or after 1/1/2008 are subject to benefits caps that are adjusted annually.
For a more detailed understanding of the exact benefits, a truck driver can expect to receive from a worker’s compensation claim, you can consult our Arkansas Worker’s Compensation Guide or contact an experienced worker’s comp attorney in Arkansas.
Arkansas Worker’s Compensation Lawyer Serving Bentonville, Fayetteville, and Beyond
For more than 20 years Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law has fought for injured, hard-working people. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a workers comp attorney, call us at (479) 316-0438 today or contact us online.