Truck drivers are different from most other kinds of workers when it comes to the worker’s compensation system because so many of you travel all over the country whereas most people do all of their work in one location. This can give you the ability to choose which state where you want to pursue your worker’s compensation case and in turn, this can have a huge impact on whether you are covered at all and if so, the amount of money you receive in benefits and your access quality medical care and your control over your medical care.
“Jurisdiction” is just a fancy term which says that a state will allow a worker’s compensation case to be heard in its worker’s compensation system. All state’s systems will allow a case to be heard in their system where the injury actually took place within the borders of the state. Beyond that, each state defines its jurisdiction a little bit differently but most states allow worker’s compensation cases to be heard in their system when the injuries happened elsewhere if other conditions are present. Two of the most common situations where this happens are:
- The principal place of employment (for truckers, this is usually your home terminal) is in the state, but the injury happened elsewhere; or
- The contract for hire was formed in the state, but the injury happened elsewhere.
Because truck drivers are often based in one state, but work elsewhere, the situation frequently arises for them that they have options about where to file their case. When you have the option to file your case in more than one state, you have a choice to make … or in some situations, you pursue cases in more than one state.
Where you choose to file your case may have a huge impact on how your case plays out because each state has a different system, and depending on the facts of your case, you may go from not being covered at all to being entitled to receive significant benefits. Which state is best? It all depends … and you should get good legal advice to sort out what your options are, and what the best choice is for you.