Attention Truck Drivers: You May Be Protected By Pennsylvania Law

By Vincent J. Quatrini Jr., Esq.

Did you know that if you are an over-the-road truck driver who travels to many states around the nation, you may still be covered by the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act? Our office represented a truck driver who was hired by an Ohio trucking company. Our client was injured in New Stanton, Pennsylvania, and lived in Blairsville, Pennsylvania. The Ohio trucking company did not carry Pennsylvania workers' compensation insurance. The trucking company owned a parking lot in West Virginia, enabling it to purchase cheaper workers' compensation insurance under West Virginia law. As a result, the trucking company started to pay our client West Virginia workers' compensation benefits.

Because he was injured in Pennsylvania, we believed that our client was entitled to be paid under the Pennsylvania workers' compensation law. We filed a Pennsylvania workers' compensation claim. The trucking company fought our claim, alleging that the injury was covered by the "extraterritorial" provision of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act. Our argument was that the extraterritorial clause only applied to workers who were injured outside of Pennsylvania.

After a 10-year struggle, leading the whole way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, we won the case. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced that any worker injured in Pennsylvania is covered by the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act.

In summary, it doesn't matter where you live. It doesn't matter where you were hired. It doesn't matter where your employer is headquartered. If you are driving your rig through Pennsylvania and are injured, you are covered by our workers' compensation law. This is very significant, because the laws of many states like West Virginia, Texas, and Ohio are geared to protect the trucking company and not the injured worker. Pennsylvania gives more complete protection to the injured worker.