With more and more people making online purchases of food, clothes, electronics, meals, and many more items, the need for delivery drivers has increased dramatically. Like with many other jobs, being a delivery driver can be dangerous, and a worker can be injured in a variety of workplace accidents. Fortunately, employers are required to provide workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey, and injured workers may be entitled to benefits if they are hurt in an accident while on the job.
What Are Common Ways Delivery Drivers Are Injured in Workplace Accidents?
Drivers delivering furniture, packages, food, restaurant orders, and mail must spend the majority of their workday in a truck or motor vehicle outside a fixed work location. This means that even if an employer stresses safety procedures, workers are exposed to many situations where this may not be a priority. In addition, workers are under constant pressure to quickly make a delivery so that they can go on the next one—increasing the likelihood that a worker will be involved in an accident. Common causes of delivery workers’ injuries include:
- Animal bites. When drivers deliver packages, take-out, and other goods to private residences, they are in danger of suffering a dog or other animal bite. Animal attacks can lead to long-term injuries, such as amputations, permanent scarring and disfigurement, organ damage, and death. In addition, workers can suffer serious insect bites, which can result in an allergic reaction or cause a worker to become ill with a dangerous disease, such as Lyme disease or West Nile virus.
- Dangerous deliveries. In some cases, the items being delivered are dangerous, such as gas, flammable substances, medical specimens, and biological materials. A worker can be severely burned if hazardous materials explode in a vehicle accident or develop an occupational illness from exposure to toxic substances.
- Vehicle accidents. Because delivery workers spend so much of their day driving, they are at increased risk of being injured in a motor vehicle accident caused either by another driver or their own negligence. This can result in them suffering catastrophic injuries, such as internal organ damage, paralysis, burns, traumatic brain injury, back and spinal injuries, or death.
- Overexertion. Delivery drivers must often lift heavy loads by themselves because they are working alone. This can lead to muscle, tendon, and ligament strains and tears, slipped disk, other back, shoulder, and neck injuries, and spinal injuries.
- Repetitive motions. Delivery drivers perform a number of repetitive motions throughout their day when loading and unloading packages, opening and closing vehicle doors, and gripping the steering wheel. This can cause repetitive stress injuries, like trigger finger, carpel tunnel syndrome, and other soft tissue injuries.
- Slip and fall injuries. Delivery drivers can be hurt in a slip and fall accident when sidewalks and parking lots are not kept free of snow and ice, stairs are defective, and other hazards are not removed by the owner. Workers can suffer long-term back injuries, fractures, head injuries, and more.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits You May Deserve
In New Jersey, you are entitled to workers’ comp benefits if you were injured on your job as a deliver driver regardless of who caused your accident—including you. The types of benefits you could receive include:
- Medical expenses—including for doctor visits, surgery, prescriptions, physical therapy, and medical equipment
- Temporary disability payments of 70 percent of your wages while you are off work recovering
- Permanent partial disability payments if you suffered a partial disability but are able to work at your former or a new job
- Permanent partial disability payments if you are no longer able to work due to your injuries
- Death benefits if a loved one died as a result of an accident
You may also be able to file a third-party claim against a negligent driver if you were in a car accident, or against a negligent business or property owner if you were hurt in a slip and fall accident for additional compensation, such as the full amount of your wage losses, and pain and suffering.
Were you injured while on the job? You need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to fight for the benefits you deserve. To learn about how I have helped other clients, read my testimonials. Then start an online chat to schedule your free consultation today.