Truck drivers are by and large loyal working men and women. You work very hard to avoid letting your company down by delivering freight on time and keeping the customers happy. When you get hurt, you tend to tough it out before reporting the injury because you don’t want the company to think you are soft or slacking off. Generally, when a trucker is injured on the job, loyalty is not a two-way street.
First, workers’ compensation coverage does not automatically apply just because you get hurt on the job. Under Nebraska law, if you do not report the injury within a reasonably short period of time, your claim may be barred. When you sustain an injury, notify your employer immediately.
Second, if you allow your employer or its workers’ compensation adjuster choose your doctor and dictate your medical care, the cost to the company, not your health, will be the highest priority. Certainly, there are employers who genuinely care about their employees. But insurance companies uniformly care more about their money than they do your health. And usually, it will be the insurance adjuster, not your employer who will be making decisions about your workers’ compensation claim. That insurance adjuster will use any excuse it can find to deny your claim or to reduce its obligations to pay for your care. Many problems arise over the payment of medical bills. If there is no reasonable controversy about whether your claim should fall under workers’ compensation, the insurance carrier may be penalized if they do not pay a medical bill within thirty days after it is presented to them.
Whether or not you hire a lawyer, you can help yourself by preventing mistakes. Make sure your doctor knows exactly how and when you were injured, and explain thoroughly all of the problems you are having as a result of the injury. Make sure when you leave the doctor’s office, you have a work status note that says whether you can work, and if you can work, whether you have any restrictions on your work activities. Always keep a copy of all medical records, work status notes, and everything else associated with your claim. Also, gather together all of your pay stubs and settlement documents because your benefits are calculated on the average of your earnings for the twenty-six weeks preceding your injury.
If you think you need a lawyer, please consider this. Nobody even has to know you talked to a lawyer unless you retain that lawyer to represent you. The phone call is free; the initial consultation is free; the only thing you have to do is to pick up the phone and dial the toll-free number. You should know that it costs absolutely nothing to learn about your rights from a lawyer experienced in workers’ compensation cases. On the other hand, you could rely only on what the adjuster or your employer is telling you, decisions will be made which could cost you thousands of dollars and prevent you from getting appropriate medical and vocational care.