Protecting Motor Carriers Against an O/O Work Comp Claim (part 3 of 3) by Chris Pavone, Owner Operator Risk Manager at NRMS

The first part of this three-part series addressed the hazards and risks of being a professional truck driver.  Part 2 covered the risks to motor Owner Operator Chris Pavoneacarriers, and part 3 is a message to independent contractors about protecting yourself from workplace injury costs.

Independent Contractors: It’s a dangerous job; protect your livelihood

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, the rate of injury is 322.8 per 10,000 workers compared to 99.9 per 10,000 in all industries. Drivers face risk of accidents in the truck and also from slips and falls outside the cabs.

Who pays the bills when accidents happen? Employees are covered by workers compensation, but the Independent Contractor (I/C) is typically not covered by that policy. That’s why the I/C should consider purchasing their own workers compensation policy or an occupational accident policy to keep them protected for medical bills and lost income in the event of an injury, or fatality. If they do not have such coverage, the I/C or his family could face devastating costs.  Expenses that can only be paid from:

•    Savings
•    Family Help
•    Loans

A comprehensive Occupational Accident Insurance (OAI) provides the injured driver with financial protection for accidental death, dismemberment, paralysis, temporary or total disability and medical bills.  It is a fraction of the cost of workers compensation, and is available in most states.  Note – Occupational Accident Insurance is not workers compensation and not meant to be a substitute for workers compensation where workers compensation is required.  A quality OAI policy offers recourse for:

•    Loss of income
•    Medical bills
•    Life insurance for surviving family in case of death.

Policies vary by insurance company.  Be sure to review coverage and limits with your agent.  The more comprehensive the policy, the less likely an individual or their family will sustain financial hardship.