In the space of a year, freight drivers will spend tens of thousands of hours behind the wheel transporting and delivering goods. Logically, that much time spent driving increases the odds that they will be in a motor vehicle accident or get injured on the job. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 116,000 injury crashes involving large trucks or buses in 2017 alone. Although that figure merits surprise on its own, it fails to account for the millions of smaller injuries that occur annually from simply doing the job.
As a trucking carrier, it’s your duty to provide employees with worker’s compensation and an avenue for making injury claims. Knowing that the faster an injury claim can be completed, the lower the costs of the claim will be, it’s essential that you do everything in your power to expedite that claims process. One way you can do this is by utilizing TPIA’s instant claim reporting program. Below, we’ll describe the claim process then detail how the program will immediately put a defensive team together to get your employee back on their feet and lower claim costs:
Freight Injury Claims
There are three primary injuries that occur to drivers in the line of duty. They are:
Accidents – Typically, driving accidents result in the most serious of injuries, ranging from minor bumps and bruises to traumatic and permanent injuries including:
Neck and shoulder issues
Repeated stress over extended periods of time – Navigating in a stationary position for tens of thousands of hours per year can lead to lingering injuries particularly in the wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders, neck, and back.
Unloading and loading – Drivers that help move cargo are especially vulnerable to injuries during these activities. This is particularly true for those drivers that repeatedly move awkwardly shaped cargo without being given proper equipment.
If your driver experiences one of these injuries while on the job, they are legally encouraged to make an injury claim without fear of being fired for the claim. Educate your drivers as to the following:
Accidents – If your driver is involved in an accident, encourage them to take the following steps:
Call 911 if immediate medical attention is needed.
Report the accident to your head office for a hands-on direction.
Take plenty of pictures of the scene of the accident.
Obtain witness information.
Call the TPIA claim line.
Report the injury right away – If you utilize independent contractors, you may not have much direct contact with your drivers for long periods of time. Despite this, it’s essential that you let them know who they can contact if they are injured.
Additionally, create a strict guideline wherein injuries need to be reported immediately. As mentioned, lost time can have a massive impact on the final claim cost, so encourage your drivers to get the process going immediately. Additionally, the cost of a claim directly impacts the cost of worker’s compensation insurance, so it behooves you to try and keep both costs down.
How Nurse Triage Can Lower Your Claim Cost
In order to lower claim costs, TPIA created a claim reporting line that is a recorded line with a medical nurse who also documents the claim for reporting to the insurer. This system essentially acts as a 24/7 injury hotline. When an injury occurs, your driver calls the TPIA 1-800 number in order to speak with a trained nurse. From there, the nurse can direct the driver to self administer first aid or recommend a carrier-designated medical care facility.
At the conclusion of the call, the claim is immediately reported to the trucking carrier, TPIA, the insurance company, and the treating medical facility. Benefits of this include:
Cuts down lag (reporting time to the insurer).
Reduces the litigation rate.
Collates evidence and documentation to prevent fraud.
Cuts down indirect bottom line costs.
Provides employers with a simple and cheap way to report injuries that occur from or during work.
Signals to employees that you care about their health and safety.
Puts employees in insured networks and helps them avoid expensive ER visits.
Helps the carrier gather information and data regarding injuries and accidents.
As a trucking carrier, it’s important that you understand and acknowledge that workplace injuries are part of the business. Because of that, it’s crucial that you do everything in your power to protect your employees and take care of those that do get injured on the job. Taking action such as utilizing the TPIA claim reporting program will provide you with the dual benefits of happy and healthy employees and lower claim costs.
That’s a win-win for your freight company.
FMCSA. Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2017. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2017
Lile, C. Trucking Info. 3 Things Drivers Need to Do in Workers’ Comp Claims. (2014). https://www.truckinginfo.com/155763/3-things-drivers-need-to-do-in-workers-comp-claims
Truck Wreck Justice. Injured Dirving a Truck? Here are 3 Things You Need to Know. (2018). https://www.truckwreckjustice.com/injured-driving-truck-3-things-need-know/