With companies like Amazon making it easier for consumers to have goods shipped directly to their homes, the United States has seen a substantial increase in the number of jobs available for commercial truck drivers. Accordingly, labor statistics show that this has also led to an increase in the number of reported injuries sustained by commercial truck drivers.
With how much time they spend on the road, you may be surprised to learn that the most common injuries for truck drivers have nothing to do with a traffic accident. Below, we discuss some of the most common types.
Injuries Frequently Sustained By Commerical Truck Drivers
Truck drivers don’t just have to sit for long hours behind the wheel of their vehicle and drive it. In the majority of cases, the drivers can be expected to help in loading and unloading their trucks, among other work-related tasks. Given their range of duties, drivers frequently sustain the following types of injuries:
Trucking Industry-Related Muscle Strain/Sprains
Nearly everyone has sprained a muscle before and understands how painful strains and sprains can be. Few, however, realize that serious strains can take weeks or even months to heal properly and that it is important to give that muscle rest during the recovery period.
Such rest often cannot be achieved by truck drivers; indeed, many can’t afford to miss work. As a result, truck drivers will try to push through the pain of their injuries and this can further exacerbate them.
In many cases, workers’ compensation can support an injured driver while they recover, though many of these victims aren’t aware of this possibility.
Herniated Discs & Other Back Injuries
Commonly known as a “slipped” disc, a herniated spinal disc occurs when a portion of the disc nucleus is pushed into the spinal canal due to a tear or rupture.
A herniated disc can be quite painful and if the disc is pressing on a nerve, it can cause numbness, burning, or tingling. Treatments that are commonly recommended to patients with a slipped disc include physical therapy, steroid injections, medication, and surgery.
Truck Driving & Repetitive Stress Injuries
When a worker makes the same motions over and over and over again, especially when lifting heavy objects, the joints used to make that motion can become inflamed and damaged.
These are known as repetitive injuries because they manifest from repetitive motion. Long periods of rest can help to ease inflammation, though, without medical attention and treatment, they can easily reappear and continue to ail truck drivers who suffer them.
Crush Injuries Following Accidents
Depending on what is being moved, truckers may be around large stacks of goods. If those stacks topple, the trucker could be crushed underneath. While many people assume that crush injury means bone fractures and internal organ damage (and this is possible), a crush injury isn’t always obvious.
Being crushed can cause muscle swelling and then breakdown, known as rhabdomyolysis. When rhabdomyolysis occurs, the muscle fiber dies, and toxins are released into the bloodstream. This can cause kidney failure, arrhythmia, hypovolemic shock, acute lung injury, and death.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur during a crash or because of a slip and fall while working with a load.
As far as common injuries suffered by truck drivers, TBIs are some of the gravest nonfatal injuries that occur. Indeed, some patients are able to recover completely after a brain injury; however, others can become physically and mentally impaired for the rest of their life.
Symptoms of traumatic brain injury can include:
- Personality Changes
- Language Issues
- Memory Issues
Doctors are still learning about the brain and two patients with similar injuries may have completely different symptoms and may heal in very different ways.
Truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, and falling cargo can all result in a broken bone. Bones take months to heal and depending on the location, can prevent a truck from returning to work for an extended period of time.
Aside from lost earnings, medical expenses following a bone fracture can also put truck drivers under significant and unexpected financial strain.
Often secondary to other injuries such as broken bones or lacerations, nerve damage can be permanent. Likewise, it can lead to other musculoskeletal disorders such as the total loss of sensation in a body part.
A deep cut can cause serious damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves. In addition, there is a high risk of secondary infection that could land a trucker in the hospital or cause sepsis.
A collision or a defect in a truck can cause the gas line to ignite. If a trucker can’t get away from an explosion or fire, burns will occur. These burns may be superficial or severe enough that amputation may need to occur.
Many Truck Drivers Can Win Compensation Via A Personal Injury Lawsuit Or Claim
As we alluded to earlier in this article, most truck drivers are not versed in workers’ compensation law. As a result, they are not aware of their rights after suffering an injury while on the job.
However, federal and state regulations were put in place to help an injured truck driver to get the help they need to get back on their feet and back behind the wheel.
If you’re a trucker who has been injured while working, you may want to consider requesting a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. There are strict deadlines for workers’ comp claim forms, so be sure to reach out for your legal consultation as quickly as possible.