Commercial trucking accidents are often so dangerous due to the size difference between the vehicles; a truck can weigh as much as 30 times more than a passenger vehicle. When a collision happens, the truck drivers often survive simply because they are behind the wheel of the larger vehicle. However, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that injuries and fatalities happen more in commercial trucking than in any other industry.
Heavy equipment in unfamiliar territory
Commercial drivers face long hours on the road nearly 2/3 of trucking fatalities occur as a result of traffic accidents. However, most injuries happen outside of the driver's seat and on the loading dock. Below are common workplace injuries truckers suffer:
· Back injuries from heavy lifting and sitting for so many hours
· Repetitive motion injuries, often from carrying freight
· Falls from trucking ladders and loading docks
· Unloading injuries from shifting cargo
· Forklift and front end loader accidents
· Struck by another vehicle in loading area
Determining liability for injuries
The diverse nature of employment types and contractual arrangements in the transportation industry can make determining liability when an injury occurs complicated. Drivers who are independent contractors typically need to prove negligence, either by the employer or property owner where the injury occurred. Drivers who are an employee may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, including medical care and wage replacement.
By their very nature, loading docks are a hazardous work environment, but employers should make an active effort to mitigate the risks and ensure driver safety. If you sustained an injury while working on a loading dock and your employer failed to take appropriate safety precautions, they may be guilty of negligence.
Commercial drivers injured in the job can benefit from seeking legal counsel. An attorney will assist with the claim process so the driver can focus on recovering.