Many lawyers try to unfairly blame truck drivers for accidents when blame is not warranted. The reason for this: there are large commercial insurance policies that cover truck drivers and trucking companies. Since 1994, I have represented many truck drivers who have been involved in a variety of serious accidents, some of which have seriously impacted their ability to earn a living and support their families. One thing that I have found is that there are few people who are willing to take up the cause of injured truck drivers or even tell them what their rights are.
This is why I wrote the book Rights of Injured Truckers.
I have spoken to many injured truck drivers over the years who have been surprised to learn what rights they have when injured in a trucking accident.3 things that I want to make very clear to you are:
- You may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation and not know it. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that it does not matter whether you, your employer, or a co-worker is to blame for your accident. If your injury arose out of and in the course of your employment, you are entitled to the benefits provided for by the Workers’ Compensation Act. Often, owner-operators think they are ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits because they are not employees however, this is not always true. Many times, the owner-operator can be considered an employee under the Workers’ Compensation Act and in Illinois and other states, are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
- You potentially have a third-party liability lawsuit. When you are hurt on the job and someone else is at fault in causing your injuries, other than yourself, a co-worker, or your employer, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit against that person. This is known as a third-party liability lawsuit because the person or entity being sued is some third person other than yourself or your employer. When you show that someone else is to blame for your injuries, you can recover compensatory damages for: past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, past and future pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, emotional distress. Furthermore, many injured drivers are under the mistaken impression that when they are hurt on the job, if they receive workers’ compensation benefits, that is all they can get. Nothing can be further from the truth. You do not have to pick a wrokers’s compensation case or a third-party liability case—you can do both.
- You may have underinsured coverage and not know it. Federally regulated motor carriers are required to carry much higher limits of insurance. For most carriers, this minimum is $750,000. A surprising number of truck policies also have two other kinds of coverage which can provide compensation to drivers who are injured through the fault of another. Uninsured motorist coverage applies when you are involved in an accident with a driver who did not have insurance or when you are involved in an accident with a hit-and-run driver. Underinsured motorist coverage applies when you have a higher underinsured motorist policy limit than the other driver and have sustained damages in excess of his policy limits. When this happens, your insurance company steps in and pays your damages in excess of the other driver’s policy limits, up to your policy limits. It is frequently the case that the truck driver’s underinsured motorist limits exceed the liability limits for the at-fault driver. Underinsured limits normally equal the liability limits, and as noted above, trucking companies must carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability coverage. This means that any accident where a truck driver is seriously injured can be the potential basis for an underinsured motorist claim through the insurance policy that covers the truck.
In my book, Rights of Injured Truckers, I discuss these 3 circumstances, and much more, in great detail. It’s my hope that truck drivers around the nation will download my book, learn their rights, and share this information with their fellow truck drivers. My intention is to give you this book so that you’ll be able to avoid many of the mistakes I’ve seen others injured truck drivers make.
This book is FREE and I encourage you to request a copy by filling in the form below. There is absolutely no obligation to hire our law firm if you do download the report. After you click “Get free book now,” you will be given a copy for immediate download. In addition, I will send you a copy of the book to the address you provide. I am giving you two copies because I want you to be able to start reading now, and have a copy of the book in your truck at all times. This issue is very important to me and I am proud to be able to take this step in protecting the rights of injured truckers.
Barry G. Doyle
Please fill in the form below to request your copy of Right of Injured Truckers.