The Difference Between Workers Comp and OAI for Trucking

By Bob Holtzman

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Trucking companies across the country make it their mission to create safe and productive work environments for their employees on the road and in their warehouses. Even though trucking operations put their best foot forward to instill safety and accountability, there are still workplace injuries that occur, resulting in a high loss of wages and reduced productivity each year.


To protect against liabilities, there are multiple insurance options that can help safeguard a company from more risk and more legal battles. Among these are two main types of commercial truck insurance: workers’ compensation insurance and occupational accident insurance. While they seem similar initially, they do have glaring differences. Let’s take a look at some now.


Occupational Accident vs. Workers’ Comp


Workers’ comp provides wage replacement and medical benefits to hired employees and occupational accident insurance offers similar pluses, but focus on independent contractors. Finding the right coverage depends on the workforce.


Occupational Accident


Companies, in essence, aren’t legally bound to pay for the medical, disability, death or dismemberment benefits of independent contractors. This is because contractors aren’t technically employees. However, when a contract worker is injured somehow help still needs to be provided.


Independent contractors who get hurt on the job sometimes sue the trucking company they have been hired by. They sometimes claim to be full-time employees to try to get legal compensation. This is where occupational accident coverage steps in.


This kind of coverage doesn’t automatically cover the same statutory limits that workers’ comp does, but it is an alternative for the independent contractor to protect himself and at much more reasonable cost than traditional workers' compensation. Motor carriers usually purchase small workers’ compensation policy to cover hired employees and add occupational accident policies to cover their contract drivers.


Workers’ Compensation


By law, all businesses are required to pay lost wages and medical bills for their hired employees if they are hurt on the job. Most business owners choose to purchase this insurance to protect themselves and cover the employee if one gets hurt on the job.


It’s important to not only invest in coverage but pick the best commercial truck insurance option that’s right for your employees and/or independent contractors. Depending on the state you’re located, there may be options to cover your workers’ comp through an occupational accident program. Work with your insurance provider to find out which is best for you.

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