If you drive a truck for a living in Virginia, you may have gotten lazy about wearing your seat belt. If you are doing deliveries, and constantly popping in and out of your cab, it can be tempting not to fasten your seat belt. However, doing this may void your rights to workers’ compensation if you are involved in an accident, as one Virginia truck driver found out. 

A recent court case saw a truck driver’s claim for workers’ compensation rejected because he was not wearing a seat belt. The driver was involved in an accident in 2018 near Smithfield. He lost control of his trailer full of ice and crossed onto the other side of the highway, where he was hit by an oncoming dumpster truck. He was thrown from his truck onto the ground and injured.  

When the driver claimed for workers’ compensation, his employer decided to take it to court. While the truck driver won his case initially, his employer appealed the ruling. They said he had knowingly broken company rules and Virginia law by not wearing a seat belt. The employer won their appeal.

In round three, the truck driver appealed against this decision but lost. Once again the court decided that the truck driver had chosen to break the company rules about wearing a seat belt and was, therefore, not entitled to compensation.

Workers’ compensation is awarded on a no-fault basis, but an employer or their insurance company can choose to dispute a case. If your employer tries to fight your claim for compensation when you suffer a workplace accident, an experienced legal team can fight your corner. However, if you are driving a truck or any other vehicle, please do fasten your seat belt — it could save your life.