Workers' comp insurance coverage is one of the most important parts of running a business. In the trucking industry, it can be more important than in other fields because injuries often occur in catastrophic accidents that can lay drivers up for months or even incapacitate them for life. Understanding how workers' comp insurance operates in the trucking business is critical. Continue reading to learn some of the differences and how they might apply to your business.
Employees vs. Contractors
One of the central issues involving workers' comp insurance is the difference between an employee and a contractor. An employee is legally someone who maintains regular hours and can't refuse assignments without losing their job. Some companies try to skirt this by using contractors in the role of employees, but those people can file workers' compensation claims if they can prove they functionally were employees.
A contract driver is someone who can take or leave assignments depending on their availability, interest, and pricing. Contractors have to deal with insurance either on their own or through their contracting employer.
This is where things can get a little blurry. Some states require owner-operators to carry workers' comp insurance coverage, but many others do not. You may be able to use your trucking insurance to fill the gap if your policy includes medical coverage. However, you should consult with an attorney when you set up your owner-operator enterprise. It is also a good idea to talk with an agent about the type of trucking insurance coverage that would address the injury or incapacitation of an owner-operator. This is particularly important in some states based on proof-of-insurance requirements.
Types of Injuries
Understandably, lots of companies and operators focus on the potential risks associated with catastrophic trucking accidents. After all, people can suffer through prolonged hospitalizations following such incidents.
However, you should also be aware of the need to cover other kinds of injuries. For example, truckers can develop stress injuries in their backs from simply sitting in vehicles. Even the best support from a high-quality seat can only do so much to take the sting out of hitting a deep pothole with a rig. These kinds of injuries can accumulate over a trucking career, and they are often compensable.
Seemingly small injuries are often compensable too. If a pickup backs into a rig, the trucker can experience whiplash even if the semi seems like it should be able to take the hit.
Contact a local insurance service, such as J.B Martin Insurance Agencies, to learn more.
You keep a copy of your insurance policy in your file drawer, but do you know how to read and understand the policy? Having an insurance policy will protect you from losses, but it won't protect you from all losses. To get a better understanding of what your policy will and will not cover, read through this blog. You will learn about all different types of insurance policies and learn the terminology used in the documents that you have read. Hopefully, by the time you have read through the content here, you will know exactly where your insurance policies are lacking so you can make changes.