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Workers’ Compensation Claims Related to Driving in Wintertime Weather

Published on Jan 23, 2020 at 11:46 pm in Workers' Compensation.

Driving in winter weather conditions such as snow or ice makes it more difficult to maintain control of the vehicle. If a driver hits a patch of ice or doesn’t give their vehicle enough time to stop, they can cause an accident. Commercial truck drivers often need to travel through inclement weather for work, but if they lose control of their vehicle, the resulting truck accident can be devastating.

With a skilled lawyer at their side, a truck or commercial vehicle driver can have peace of mind knowing that their workers’ compensation claim may have a better chance of being secured. If a driver is struggling a to receive benefits they’re entitled to, hiring a lawyer can assist you in getting the benefits an injured individual is entitled to. Let’s take a look at how workers’ compensation works for those who have to travel to do their job.

Workers’ Compensation and Traveling for Work

When you’re a truck driver and you’ve been injured while you’re on the job, you can seek workers’ compensation benefits. In Illinois, traveling to and from the workplace usually isn’t covered under workers’ compensation. However, commercial vehicle and truck drivers fall under a different category because their job includes travel.

A traveling employee is someone who needs to travel from the employer’s premises to do their job. If an employee is traveling for work, then they’re acting in the course of employment while they’re driving. Truck drivers often have demanding schedules and need to meet deadlines. Driving through inclement weather in the winter months may be a regular occurrence. Truckers can take certain precautions when they’re driving in snow. Unfortunately, even a safe, cautious driver may get in an accident if they hit a slick patch of ice, or if another driver hits them and causes an accident.

Truck accident injuries can result in broken bones, head injuries, spine injuries, and more. The truck driver may not be able to return to work for a considerable amount of time. This can add financial stress to their lives if they’re depending on their job to make ends meet. When our worker’s compensation lawyers in Peru are reviewing your case, we’ll take the extent of your injuries and necessary recovery time into account. You deserve to have time to heal without worrying about how you’re going to afford the care you need and how soon you can return to work.

While driving in poor weather may not always be avoidable, there are precautions commercial vehicle drivers can take when they’re on the road this winter. Let’s take a look at how they can prepare.

Staying Safe in Winter Weather

There are federal regulations that dictate how truckers should operate their vehicles in poor weather. Under the Code of Federal Regulations, drivers of commercial motor vehicles need to adhere to §392.14, which states drivers must use extreme caution in hazardous conditions. As such, when drivers are in snow, ice, sleet, or other hazardous conditions, they need to reduce their speed and drive for the weather they encounter. If the conditions get too dangerous for the person to operate the vehicle, then operation needs to be stopped until it’s safe again. A vehicle transporting passengers may continue to the nearest area where it’s safe for passengers.

The Illinois Department of Transportation recommends the following:
Wear a seat belt.

  • Slow down.
  • Keep both hands on the wheel.
  • Don’t use cruise control.
  • Look for black ice.
  • Exercise caution when going on ramps, bridges, and intersections.

Drivers may also want to prepare for what to do if they hit ice. Maneuvering a vehicle that’s skidding or sliding requires focus and calmness. When a driver loses control, their first instinct can be to slam on the brakes and try to correct their steering. However, when they make the correction, it can make the vehicle turn even more, or in the case of a semi tractor/trailer, cause it to jackknife.

For example, if the back tires of a vehicle are sliding out and to the left, the driver may jerk the wheel to the right, trying to make the vehicle straight again. But if the wheels in the back keep sliding and the front wheels are turned to the right, it can result in the vehicle nearly turning around so it’s facing oncoming traffic. The driver should turn into the skid and slowly ease off the gas so they slow down and stay in the right position.

When this is applied to a large commercial vehicle, the driver may not have the control to prevent an accident from occurring. A tractor that swings out from behind the trailer can form a jackknife, and the driver may not be able to correct the tractor. Jackknife accidents can be extremely dangerous, and the driver could incur serious injuries. This is where our workers’ compensation lawyers come in.

Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP Represents Injured Workers

Our firm proudly serves the hard-working people in Peru, Illinois and in the Illinois Valley. When you’ve been injured on the job, you have the right to seek compensation. Get in touch with our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers today so we can protect your rights and help maximize your compensation benefits so you can focus on your recovery.

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