Georgia Workers’ Compensation for Injured Truck Drivers

Drivers in the transportation industry have difficult jobs. Much of the job is sedentary, but for most drivers their jobs require some heavy lifting. Semi truck drivers may be required to unload deliveries when they arrive at their destination. UPS drivers on the other extreme are in and out of their trucks all day unloading and delivering cumbersome packages.

Large, heavy packages are more common all the time as companies offer free shipping promotions. During the busy holiday season, even greater numbers of packages travel across the country by over-the-road big rigs and delivery vans. If an injury occurs over the hectic holidays, an Atlanta workers' compensation attorney can provide guidance on benefits that might be available.

Unfortunately, employers do not act appropriately in every case when an employee is injured. A recent case in nearby Tennessee against a trucking company demonstrates what an employer should not do.

While prepping for a milk delivery to a supermarket, a truck driver slipped and was hurt. He thought the pain would go away, so he did not report the injury to his employer. The following day, he completed the scheduled delivery. A dispatcher told the driver to complete another delivery. The driver explained that he was feeling sick and tired. Further, he did not have enough service hours to make the next delivery under the federal regulations.

The dispatcher advised the employee to return to the trucking company's main office. When he arrived at the main office, the employer told the driver to remove his belongings from the truck. The trucking company then terminated the driver.

The U.S. Department of Labor became involved after the driver complained of his employer's retaliatory adverse employment decision. Ultimately, a settlement was reached. The trucking company reinstated the employee and agreed to a lump sum payment.

Georgia workers' compensation laws

While the Tennessee case did not specifically deal with a workers' compensation claim, the driver should have informed his employer about the injury right after it occurred.

Slip and fall injuries are common for those employed in the transportation industry and can cause serious injury. Georgia law requires that employers who have more than three employees provide workers' compensation coverage for employees. If a work injury arises out of or in the course of employment, it will trigger workers' comp benefits. Those who suffer injury on the job are entitled to payment for medical bills and lost wages.

For on-the-job injuries, workers' compensation benefits are generally the only remedy against the employer. This does not always mean that workers' compensation is the only claim. In several situations, additional compensation against other parties may be available.

If defective brakes caused an accident, a claim may exist against the manufacturer of the vehicle. Similarly, if the negligence of another driver caused an accident a third-party claim might also be needed.

After any injury that results from working in the transportation industry, contact an Atlanta law firm that specializes in workers' compensation and personal injury. A law office, which specializes in transportation injuries, can advise whether a third party claim might exist.