A 2017 study by the Insurance Information Institute (III) reported that heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers reported more than 47,000 injuries that year, ranking it second on the list of occupations with the most injuries.
Injury Risks for Alaska Truck Drivers
While driving a truck may seem fairly straightforward, the occupation does face a variety of injury risks. The main dangers include:
- Repetition. Sitting for so many hours a day in the same position can be hard on the body. The constant vibration of the moving truck and the lack of movement can lead to serious back and neck problems. In addition, many drivers are responsible for some amount of loading and unloading cargo. Repeated bending, pulling, and lifting can cause muscle strain.
- Vehicle crashes. Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and injury in the U.S., and even professional drivers are not immune to accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 170,000 injury crashes involving large trucks in 2017. Given the size and weight of a truck, these accidents can be serious, with drivers experiencing a wide range of injuries from lacerations and broken bones to traumatic brain injury and paralysis.
- Loading and unloading. In addition to repetition injuries sustained loading and unloading a truck, there are other risks as well. Shifting cargo can fall during the process, striking the driver. Slips and falls are also common causes of injury at the loading docks.
When a Work Injury Keeps Truck Drivers Off the Road
Truck drivers are required to do a lot more than simply sit in a cab and drive. They are also required to do tasks such as loading, making repairs, unloading, and more. When an injury is sustained, it can have a significant effect on a driver’s ability to do his job properly and safely.
- Muscle strains or other muscle conditions can prevent a driver from being able to sit upright, handle the bounces and jerks of a truck ride, and load/unload cargo.
- Carpal tunnel can make it difficult to steer, shift, and operate vehicle systems promptly and effectively.
- Broken bones from falls or crashes may make all of the tasks associated with driving and cargo work difficult or impossible.
- Neck injuries can limit a driver’s ability to view his surroundings and identify changing road conditions as quickly as is necessary.
When drivers experience these and other injuries, performing their jobs may not be possible, and it is likely necessary to seek medical care. This is where Alaska’s workers’ compensation system can help. This benefits system exists to provide medical care and compensation to employees who suffer injuries in the course of work. It provides the necessary medical treatment and financial support to help injured drivers make as complete a recovery as quickly as possible.
An Experienced Alaska Workers’ Compensation Attorney May Be Able to Help
While the workers’ compensation board is not a court of law, the decisions that are made are binding and can have a significant impact on the future of the injured workers and his family. When an employee is injured on the job, he needs and deserves the chance at as complete a recovery as possible, and an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help workers reach this goal. Anchorage-based attorney Ben Crittenden has helped other workers secure the care and compensation they needed. Working with clients and their families, Ben:
- Explains workers’ rights
- Prepares paperwork and locates documents
- Helps file for benefits
- Negotiates with insurance companies
- Represents workers’ interests at hearings
- Pursues personal injury claims when necessary
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries on the job, you may be eligible for Alaska workers’ compensation benefits. Call Ben today or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to get in touch directly with Ben and learn more about how he may be able to help.