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Can Colorado Truck Drivers Receive Workers’ Compensation?

Posted on in Workplace Injury

Larimer County workers compensation lawyer

When it comes to workers’ compensation, truck drivers who are injured are in a unique situation in Colorado, depending on their employment status with a company. Many trucking companies hire drivers as independent contractors as opposed to regular full-time employees in an effort to save costs. There are many liabilities with having truck drivers as employees, so technically, an independent contractor would not qualify for workers’ compensation. Instead, under 2018 legislation, independent contractor truck drivers in Colorado qualify under occupational accident coverage for vehicles weighing more than 16,001 pounds. This coverage must be comparable to the employer’s workers’ compensation benefits. 

Types of Truck Accidents

Every type of job has the potential for a person to get injured while performing their occupational duties. Truck drivers are different than office workers due to the amount of time they spend on the road for their jobs. While truck drivers are subject to common workers’ compensation claims, such as slips and falls, they can also be involved in accidents specific to trucking. The following are accidents that a truck driver may face while on the job: 

  • Heavy Cargo: Trucks often carry heavy freight. It may be part of a truck driver’s responsibility to unload or adjust cargo during his or her route. Like any other worker who deals with moving heavy objects, it is possible for a truck driver to get hurt from taking on too much, or from improper lifting technique. Trucks also have heavy parts, such as the hood, which can cause injuries to a driver during an inspection. 

  • Traffic Accidents: If someone were to get in a car accident on his or her way to work, he or she would not likely be able to collect workers’ compensation. However, when a person’s job is driving, the aftermath of a traffic accident may qualify for workers’ compensation. When a truck driver is in a collision with a passenger car, it is more likely that the driver of the car will experience a serious or fatal injury due to the size difference between the two vehicles. However, that does not mean that a truck driver cannot experience significant injuries, too. 

These potential hazards can increase due to the age of a truck driver, or how much sleep/rest he or she had in between shifts. Even if the accident was caused by another motorist, if the truck driver cannot return to work, he or she is eligible to file for workers’ compensation, or the equivalent if he or she is an independent contractor.

Contact a Fort Collins Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Even if a truck driver is considered an independent contractor, he or she can still receive compensation in the event of an injury and he or she is unable to work for a period of time. These benefits come through occupational accident coverage in Colorado. Trucking companies must provide some type of coverage regardless if a driver is a regular full-time employee or an independent contractor. To understand your rights after a truck accident, contact an experienced Larimer County trucking industry injury attorney to discuss the details of your case. Call our office today at 970-225-2190 to schedule a free consultation. 

 

Sources:

https://www.truckinginfo.com/155763/3-things-drivers-need-to-do-in-workers-comp-claims

https://www.ttnews.com/articles/truck-drivers-employees-or-independent-contractors-it-matters-workers-comp

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/Legislative_Update_2018.pdf

 

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

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Fort Collins, CO 80524

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