Driving a large truck is a physically demanding job. Driving for many hours can be exhausting, and some drivers have to load and unload cargo. Drivers may be injured climbing in or out of a truck. Many drivers sustain musculoskeletal injuries while connecting and disconnecting trailers or lifting heavy loads. Severe strains and sprains account for half of the reported nonfatal injuries. Truck drivers may suffer injuries in a collision.
Because of the potential for traffic accidents, 18-wheeler drivers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illness of any occupation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are a commercial driver who has been injured on the job and you are having difficulty obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, contact an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer at Joye Law Firm for help. Our team will review your situation and help you seek the benefits you deserve.
Common Truck Driver Injury Situations
Truck drivers may experience injuries transporting goods across the country or picking up and dropping off packages within a local region or urban area. Regardless of the size and weight of the truck, drivers can be injured in many different ways.
Truck drivers often work in a high-stress environment. They are required to meet tight delivery schedules, stay alert for up to 14 hours a day, and often have irregular sleeping schedules. Commercial drivers often drive on nights, weekends and holidays.
The most common injury situations include:
- Accidents during loading or unloading cargo
- Connecting and disconnecting tractors from trailers
- Strains, sprains, and back injuries
- Contact with objects or equipment
- Slips, trips, and falls – including climbing up into tractor cabs, entering and exiting trucks, slipping/falling on or offloading onto docks
- Being struck by improperly loaded cargo
- Collisions with other vehicles
- Crush injuries
Traffic collisions pose a risk of injury for anyone who spends time driving as part of his or her job duties. According to the South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book, more than 5,000 truck drivers were involved in tractor trailer accidents in a recent year.
Common Truck Driver Injuries
Truck drivers may suffer bruises, fractures, cuts, and lacerations when hitching or unhitching trailers or working around loading platforms. Severe strains and sprains account for half of the nonfatal work injuries sustained by truck drivers. Strains and sprains can cause neck, back, elbow, arm, and shoulder pain.
These types of injuries are considered musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). MSDs include conditions that affect joints, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, and blood vessels. These injuries can start with one awkward movement or misstep. They can be short-lived, or they can lead to long-lasting conditions associated with ongoing pain and disability.
Truck drivers often develop tendonitis, tennis elbow, low back pain, and other disabling MSDs. Such persistent injuries reduce a trucker’s ability to work, participate in social activities, and can impact their mental health. These injuries can limit a truck driver’s mobility and dexterity and can be a cause for depression leading to reduced earning potential.