CDC Identifies Crashes as the Main Cause of Work-Related Trucker Deaths
It is logical to assume that the size and weight of commercial trucks provide safety for truck drivers, even though they virtually guarantee serious injuries to other motorists involved in accidents with them. Still, statistics show that truck drivers are far from immune to serious injuries and fatalities.
Any Charlotte work accident lawyer knows that NC workers’ compensation law can potentially cover accidental injuries and fatalities to commercial truck drivers. However, claims can be rejected under some circumstances. More importantly, more drivers need to use simple common-sense measures to reduce their risk of injury on the road.
One Unsafe Practice Leads to Others
As recently as March of this year, the CDC reported that crashes kill truck drivers at a rate greater than any other cause. According to their report, about 2.6 million U.S. workers drive trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds, and the 2012 statistics showed some alarming information:
- Crashes accounted for about 65 percent of truck driver deaths.
- During that year, about 700 drivers or their passengers died in crashes, and about 26,000 individuals were injured.
- More than a third of the involved drivers failed to wear seatbelts.
In a related survey, the CDC learned that more than one-third of long-haul truck drivers were involved in multiple crashes over their careers. Just as important, the survey suggested that drivers who disobey seatbelt laws tend to disobey other laws by speeding and committing moving violations. Additionally, in many cases, their employers did not have written driver safety programs that would educate drivers on the effects of risky behaviors, such as drowsy and distracted driving.
In Some Cases, Driving-Related Work Accident Claims Can be Denied
One of the benefits of workers’ compensation claims involves liability issues. Regardless of whether drivers or their employers were at fault for accidents causing their injuries or fatalities, the system generally pays their claims.
This does not mean that claims cannot be denied. Under the law, insurers can deny claims when drivers are under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances at the time of the accident. They can also deny claims for drivers who willfully failed to perform a statutory duty or willfully breached approved regulations adopted by their employers. In certain circumstances, claims may be denied for independent owner-operators of tractor-trailer trucks.
It is not uncommon for insurance companies to unfairly allege these types of breaches and deny claims. Regardless of whether drivers need workers’ compensation to pay medical and other bills — or if their families seek death benefits — they should strongly consider seeking legal advice before they accept claim reductions or full denials. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assess the validity of a claim to identify all possible legal options. Call us at 800-948-0577 or use our convenient online contact form to learn the next steps.