The truck industry is an important essential service in the United States, and truckers must face daily on-the-job risks driving for long hours on the road. They encounter crowded highways in the summer months, hazardous weather conditions in winter, and the potential for dangerous driver fatigue.
Because of the many hazards to truck driving, including accidents that end up in catastrophic injury and death, this line of work is one of more dangerous private industry jobs. And the risks grow each year. The number of fatalities involving large trucks increased by 10% from 2016 to 2017, and there has been a 40% overall increase in large truck or bus fatalities from 2009 to 2017.
What coverage options are offered to Texas truckers?
Texas is unique in its range of employer coverages. While most states offer workers’ compensation as the main avenue of coverage, Texas has allowed private sector employers to opt out of the state system since 2013. Texas is the only state that allows employers to become non-subscribers, even offering exceptions for small employers to be categorized as non-subscribers.
While it may make sense to small employers to opt out of workers’ compensation, and they do report having a higher level of satisfaction for having chosen alternative insurance plans, premiums for small business subscribers who provide workers’ compensation have either remained the same or decreased.
The main difference for self-insured employers is that they have more control over the benefits that are offered to injured workers, which includes the employer’s choice of doctors, caps on injury, death or permanent impairment compensation, as well as arbitration limitations on benefits.
Some employers do not report their coverage, and some even operate without any insurance. In fact, in 2018, 50% of all self-insured business were not knowledgeable of the reporting requirements to the Division of Workers’ Compensation, either of their coverage status or work-related deaths and injuries.
Do you know how much your employer will provide for you?
If a truck driver is injured while driving on the job, knowing what insurance covers and what their employer will not provide is very important. And if the employer or a coworker was deemed negligent when an injury occurred on the job, the injured trucker can seek advice to have a liability claim filed on their behalf. Whether a claim is denied or only partially paid through workers’ compensation, or if a self-insured company approved doctor minimizes a claim, it helps to have information on how to proceed.