Over the last 25 years, I’ve helped thousands of truck drivers who have had work-related injuries. The most common one we see is when a driver falls off their truck. It’s not unusual as drivers are regularly elevated and have to step or jump down. Those falls can lead to all sorts of injuries including ACL tears, back injuries, shoulder injuries, etc.
But truck drivers get hurt in all different ways and have unique risks as compared to the general public. We see a lot of hip injuries with truck drivers and not all from falls off the truck. There is a risk of injury when entering and exiting the truck as well as when checking on loads. They also work in a lot of slippery, icy, and wet conditions. There’s also a unique risk they face. The following question from a reader is a situation we see a lot.
I have been a truck driver at my company for 25 years.. have been experiencing hip pain on my clutching leg for 4 years.. finally went to a hip specialist.. xray revealed missing cartilage in the hip joint..I need a replacement…could this go under workmans comp?
The answer is that yes it could be a workers’ compensation case in Illinois and it could be a good one although it’s not an easy one. If you’ve never been in a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle, you might not have an idea of the force needed to use the clutch. It’s way different than a regular car and we see this type of injury a lot due to the repetitive nature of the job. Over 25 years this driver may have made the same movement over a million times.
So I don’t think there is any doubt that the driving caused or contributed to his hip pain which is what we need to show in order to win him benefits. The insurance company will argue that it’s due to something else like getting older or that he waited too long to file the case, but I don’t think those are winning arguments. It wasn’t until he saw a doctor that the clock to file notice of a case should likely start under IL law, and if he continues to do the job, essentially every day is a new injury.
As a result, there’s work to be done, but ultimately I think he’ll win his case. To win a work comp case in Illinois, you have to show some unique risk factor which in this case is using the clutch. The general public doesn’t do that. And then you have to show that the job contributed to your injury. So unless he fell on ice in his driveway at home or had some other non-work-related accident, I don’t see him losing this claim.
There’s actually a study that was done that showed over 60% of truck drivers have some sort of musculoskeletal pain and are 350% more likely to have an injury than the general public. A lot of these injuries are to the back, but plenty of others are to the hip. Sometimes it’s just hip pain and other time the cartilage wears down and a hip replacement is needed.
Aside from falls and the clutch, truck drivers also hurt their hips due to prolonged sitting as well as the types of seats they are in. It can lead to impingement of the nerves and scar tissue. While everyone sits during the day, not everyone sits for ten hours straight in a vibrating seat that is cramped.
Finally, if sleeping stations aren’t constructed correctly and you get thrown around a bit while your partner is driving, doing that day after day can really cause hip irritation among other injuries.
The bottom line is that if you are a truck driver with a hip injury, we’d be shocked if you didn’t have a workers’ compensation case, especially if you have been doing it for a while. If you’d like to talk to an attorney for free about your situation, please call us any time at 312-346-5578. We help everywhere in Illinois and all calls are confidential.