Transportation incidents are the single most common incident resulting in fatal work injuries, according to new data from Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to BLS, the risk of transportation incidents is rising, and in 2015, a total of 26 percent of all fatalities on-the-job occurred in transportation incidents.
Workers who frequently drive as a part of their job are at the greatest risk of sustaining injuries or fatalities in transportation incidents. The professionals who drive the most are commercial truck drivers, and truckers who drive tankers, semis, or tractor-trailers account for close to half of the fatalities in transportation incidents. In total, 629 fatal roadway incidents involved truckers who were killed, out of a total of 1,264 roadway incidents in which workers lost their lives.
Because transportation accidents are a cause of so many fatal work injuries, commercial truckers face a disproportionate risk of being hurt or killed on-the-job. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 745 fatal injuries sustained by heavy and tractor-trails truckers over the course of a one year period. This was "the most of any occupation."
If a trucker is hurt or killed, the truck driver or his family may be entitled to workers' compensation coverage. This coverage is purchased by employees for employees, so owner-operators may not be covered, depending upon how their company is structured and whether insurance was purchased.
Workers' comp is very broad coverage and it is supposed to provide for injured workers and families of deceased workers in any situation where an employee was harmed on-the-job. The benefits available through workers' comp can even be provided in situations where an employee's own actions contributed to causing the injuries. This means that, if a trucker caused a crash, he or his family could still receive workers' comp in most situations unless the trucker falls within an exception, such as if the truck driver was violating express company policies.
Truckers or their families need to know how a workers' comp claim works, and what kinds of compensation they can receive. While workers' comp can provide benefits in more situations than making a personal injury claim would, compensation is typically much more comprehensive if and when it is possible to file a personal injury or wrongful death civil suit. If a truck accident was caused by the negligence of another motorist, a civil claim against this third party could be filed separately from, and in addition to, a workers' compensation claim for benefits.
Truck drivers can also make workers' compensation claims for other kinds of work injuries, including injuries caused by incidents other than transportation accidents. Truckers can be hurt or killed when truck cargo is being loaded or unloaded; if they sustain a fall; or if they are impacted by violence such as when a truck robbery occurs.