Visitor Question

Sleeping in my truck when hit from behind…

Submitted By: Misael (Belleville, New Jersey)

I work as a truck driver and it was me and my cousin driving the rig. I was in the bed already sleeping and he was the one driving when we got hit from behind as he was pulling out of the rest area.

One of the guys from UPS was coming so fast that he hit us from behind. I was thrown from the bed to the floor and that’s how I hurt my neck and my shoulder.

I’ve been out of work for a week now because of neck pain. I could hardly move it and I’ve been waiting for my boss to file a claim, but I’m not getting anywhere. What can I do?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Misael,

You have two options. Your first option is to file a workers compensation claim with your employer. Your injury clearly seems to be work related. However, this presumes your employer knew your cousin was driving, and doing so was considered within your normal and customary work duties.

If your employer takes the position you were not actually working while your cousin was driving the truck, then your workers compensation may be denied.

Your second option is to consider a 3rd party personal injury claim against UPS. Based on the facts,  you and your cousin were both not liable for the collision. As such, you both have the basis of a legitimate personal injury claim against the UPS driver and UPS.

There is no mention of a police report. If the police were dispatched to the accident scene they would have likely cited the UPS driver for a violation of New Jersey Revised Statutes Title 39 Section 4-89 called “Following too Closely.” The statute reads in part:

“The driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of the preceding vehicle and the traffic upon, and condition of, the highway. The driver of a motor truck when traveling upon a highway, outside of a business or residence district, shall not follow another motor truck within one hundred feet, but this shall not be construed to prevent one motor truck overtaking and passing another.”

Because the rest area is under the jurisdiction of the State of New Jersey Department of Transportation, Title 39:4-89 would apply.

See the article, “Regulations for the Control of Traffic in Rest Areas and Scenic Overlooks Under the Jurisdiction of the New Jersey Department of Transportation”

In the event you succeed in a 3rd party injury claim against UPS, your workers comp insurance company would have a right to be reimbursed by you for the money they paid to you for your medical bills, lost wages, and related costs. However, because workers comp does not cover pain and suffering, any amounts you might recover from UPS for pain and suffering would be yours to keep.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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