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Truck drivers are overloaded with on-the-job safety hazards

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2018 | Blog, Firm News

If you are a truck driver who navigates massive 18-wheelers on the busy Connecticut roads, you might be concerned for the welfare of your family if you should suffer a debilitating injury or worse in a work-related accident. Transportation accidents claim many lives every year, and falls, overexertion and struck-by-object incidents can cause long-term health problems that might jeopardize your earning ability. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the hours you may drive without resting, but that only addresses the issue of accidents resulting from fatigue and drowsiness.

Your employer also carries some of the responsibility to ensure your safety such as providing the necessary training and ensuring only the best automotive mechanics look after your truck’s maintenance. You carry a significant percentage of the quest to stay safe, and that includes the safety of other motorists, pedestrians and co-workers.

Frequently suffered trucker injuries

The International Labour Organization classifies the driver of a commercial vehicle with a load capacity exceeding three tons as a trucker. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the various hazards you face as a trucker may cause multiple traumatic injuries, fractures, sprains and strains, lacerations and cuts, bruises, soreness and pain.

Physical hazards

Your hauling of heavy loads will expose you to a variety of circumstances that could present the following physical hazards:

  • Continued vibration of your whole body could cause what is known as trucker’s fatigue along with impaired musculoskeletal functions.
  • Your exposure to engine noise — typically exceeding 80 decibels — could cause chronic, severe headaches, and eventually, it might harm your hearing.
  • You might have to deal with extreme weather conditions, and unexpected breakdowns can expose you to heat stroke or frostbite.
  • Ultraviolet radiation exposure is another physical hazard for truckers.

Truck-related accidents

While crashes with other motor vehicles pose life-threatening risks, any of the following accidental incidents can cause you harm:

  • Explosions of hazardous cargo can cause chemical burns and acute intoxication.
  • Continuous exposure to exhaust fumes can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If you drive a tanker truck carrying flammable or combustible liquids, any leak resulting from a collision or mechanical failure can create fire hazards.
  • Fatigue on long trips poses a significant risk, especially if your deadlines do not allow frequent rest periods.
  • The need to move and lift heavy cargo pieces without help can cause physical overexertion that might lead to trauma.
  • Moving in and out of a tall cabin, climbing onto the trailer or navigating your way up and down a ladder might end in a slip-and-fall accident.
  • Disengaging the trailer from your truck can present the risk of being crushed if you end up in the wrong place at the wrong moment.

Ergonomic risks

The longer your driving stints before resting, the more ergonomic hazards such as the following may threaten your safety:

  • Driving in the dark and on roads with poor illumination for long hours typically cause visual discomfort.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders often plague truckers because the prolonged hours of sitting in uncomfortable postures cause pain in their lower backs.

Chemical Hazards

Although hauling hazardous chemicals poses risks of toxic exposure, the following could also cause harm:

  • Contact with chemicals can cause dermatitis and other skin diseases.
  • Dust exposure on desert roads can cause respiratory problems.
  • Exposure to exhaust fumes can lead to chronic health problems.

Psychosocial hazards

You most likely spend many hours on your own, and the following psychosocial harm could eventually result:

  • Days or weeks away from your family members could increase stress levels, often related to their safety and well-being.
  • Unwelcome radio communications and the threat of physical violence or assaults at truck stops could cause anxiety, along with the danger of being a victim of a crime if you transport valuable cargo.

Workers’ compensation

You might find comfort in the knowledge that the Connecticut workers’ compensation insurance program will provide financial assistance if you should suffer any trucking-related injuries. Your employer or the insurer might question the validity of certain claims, but you have resources available to provide you with the necessary support and guidance.


FindLaw Network

Verdicts & Settlements

36-year-old laborer for landscaping company fractured wrist when fellow employee hit him with truck. Claimant received in excess of $30,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for total disability and medical expenses and settled with automobile insurance company for fellow employee for $95,000.

1989 workers’ compensation claim settled for $125,000. Claimant originally sustained a low back injury when she slipped and fell at local grocery store resulting in low back surgery in 1989. Several years later, claimant exacerbated her low back injury. Claim was reopened and settled with carrier for $125,000 in 2006.

47-year-old deli clerk sustained low back injuries at work for local supermarket. Carrier originally denied claim on the grounds that the injury was pre-existing. After formal workers’ compensation hearing carrier accepted claim and paid all total disability benefits and medical expenses in excess of $100,000. Case then settled for an additional $100,000 after injured person received a permanent disability rating.

34-year-old male roofer sustained multiple injuries to his shoulder, neck, back and hip when he fell from roof during work. Claimant was provided workers’ compensation benefits in excess of $100,000 and settled remaining claims for an additional $55,000.

40-year-old male working for cleaning company sustained neck and low back injuries when he fell on defective staircase while cleaning local museum. Claimant recovered over $95,000 in workers’ compensation benefits and resolved claim against museum for $85,000.

26-year-old laborer sustained fractured foot when a cast iron pipe was dropped on his foot. Employer and workers’ compensation carrier denied claim on basis that injured worker was an independent contractor. After a series of informal and formal workers’ compensation hearings, carrier conceded that claimant was an employee and settled case for $85,000.

24-year-old waitress sustained back injury while working at Outback Steak House. Workers’ compensation insurance company initially denied the claim. After a series of informal hearings, carrier accepted claim paying medical expenses and total disability benefits. In addition to those benefits paid, claim settled for an additional $75,000.

Delivery truck driver sustained right wrist fracture in rear-end motor vehicle accident while in the course of his employment. Claimant recovered in excess of $40,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses and total disability benefits. Claimant settled case against at-fault driver for $105,000.

22-year-old male working as stocking clerk at “big box” retailer sustained herniated disc in low back. Workers’ compensation carrier refused to accept the claim. After formal workers’ compensation, hearing commissioner ordered carrier to pay over $35,000 in past total disability benefits and pay for surgery and all related medical expenses. Case settled for an additional $35,000 for a total recovery in excess of $100,000.

Rear-end collision on entrance ramp to Merritt Parkway resulting in 49-year-old woman sustaining mid-back injury. Case settled at mediation after filing suit for $300,000.

28-year-old passenger sustained multiple herniated discs in automobile accident in New York state. New York no-fault carrier paid for extended period of disability from work and medical expenses, including expenses for surgery. Case settled against driver of vehicle for $300,000 policy limits shortly after filing suit.

54-year-old man sustains shoulder injury when hit from behind by uninsured motorist on New Jersey Turnpike. Case settled for $135,000 prior to trial.

CT Transit bus driver sustained torn meniscus in collision with another vehicle. Claims made against at-fault driver, workers’ compensation carrier and client’s underinsured motorist policy. All claims settle for a recovery in excess of $100,000.

68-year-old woman sustained neck and back injuries in rear-end collision and required extended course physical therapy, but was not a surgical candidate. Case settled for $100,000 prior to filing suit.

34-year-old woman sustained concussion and neck and back injuries in hit-and-run accident on a New York highway. Claimant settled uninsured motorist claim for her $100,000 policy limits.

80-year-old woman sustained right foot fracture when her foot was run over in a parking lot. Case settled for at-fault driver’s policy limit of $100,000 prior to filing suit.

38-year-old nanny sustained right femur fracture when she fell down defective stairs in home of her employer’s neighbor. All medical expenses and lost wages reimbursed and case settled for an additional $150,000.

Claim against landlord for defective staircase in multi-family rental house. Claimant sustained a right femur fracture. Case settled for $125,000 prior to filing suit.

$95,000 judgment obtained against bar and nightclub for assault by one of its patrons against another patron.

47-year-old woman sustained a broken left wrist when she fell from porch stairs at house she was renting. Case settled for $95,000 shortly before trial.

26-year-old male bitten on leg by German shepherd. Claim against dog owner settled for $65,000 plus payment of all medical expenses.