hurt on the job! help!
i'm an experienced flatbed driver who was hurt on the job. i use a buck bar to tighten the straps on my loads. i was tightening my straps recently when bam! the buck bar broke! i fell against the rim of a wheel and hurt my forearm and wrist. now the company i've been with for years doesn't want to process worker's comp! i'm just a company driver! i just want to get back to work. help!
Response from Vicki:
Thanks for writing. Wow and ouch! We are sorry that you got hurt on the job. Mike drives a flatbed and uses a breaker bar (or "buck bar") to tighten his straps, too. So this is a constant concern for him.
Assuming you were using the buck bar correctly, this is obviously a case of equipment failure beyond your control. I wonder how old the bar was and if the manufacturer placed any sort of guarantee (warranty) on it at the time of purchase. If there is a guarantee, then it may be up to your company (who purchased the equipment for you to use) to pursue making good on it.
If you can do so, get a photo of a whole buck bar and the one that broke -- preferably side by side -- so that if there is any doubt, you have proof of what happened. If you can, get close-ups of the place where the bar broke. Metal fatigue can happen.
Do not rush your recovery! We realize that some professional truck drivers are very ambitious and motivated to drive. However, there is a healing process that cannot be rushed. You didn't specify the extent of your injuries, whether you were bruised or cut
or whether you sprained your arm or broke any bones. The extent of your injuries will determine the length of time you need to recover.
Since the injury was significant enough to keep you out of work, you will more than likely have to undergo a fitness evaluation to make sure that you are able to go back to work. For flatbed drivers who use their whole bodies to secure loads, you don't want to aggravate an injury that hasn't completely healed.
Trucking companies have to pay for insurance for on-the-job (OTJ) injuries and workman's compensation (or "worker's comp" for short). According to Wikipedia: "Workers' compensation is a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee's right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence." If you're in the USA, scroll down that page for info on how it applies in the United States.
There is a whole legal specialty associated with the workplace, including worker's comp. Within that field, there are specialists for the trucking industry. If you cannot get your company to cough up what they should be willing to get for you, we recommend turning the matter over to a qualified attorney who can fight in your behalf (such as through a low-cost legal services plan).
At the 2011 Trucking Social Media Convention, we met folks who work for Hurt Trucker™. You might consider contacting them if you cannot get satisfaction.
We wish you a speedy recovery. Please let us know what happens.
When you get back on the road, we wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities.