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Independent Contractor vs. Employee

Chicago Lawyers for Injured Truck Drivers

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and the Illinois Occupational Diseases Act protect employees against the losses occasioned by work accidents and illnesses. Unfortunately, some employers mis-categorize workers to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits and providing other legal protections as required under the law. If you are a truck driver who is injured or made sick on the job and needs to obtain benefits, the distinction between independent contractor vs. employee may prove important to your case. It’s important to seek legal representation. Call the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We have more than 60 years of experience seeking the best results for workers.

Independent Contractor Vs. Employees

Trucking companies sometimes seek a competitive advantage by misclassifying their workers. When a truck driver is an employee, a Chicago or other Illinois employer is constrained by a number of legal protections given to employees, including compliance with state and federal laws that govern work conditions and hours. Misclassification of employees as independent contractors can allow trucking companies to avoid paying for workers’ compensation insurance and unemployment insurance. You may have signed an agreement stating you aren’t an employee. You may receive 1099 income. However, under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, you may still count as an employee for purposes of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.

Under the ABC test, which has been adopted in Illinois, the trucking company will need to establish certain elements in order to avoid paying you workers’ compensation benefits. They would need to prove you were providing truck driving services outside the company’s control, that your services were outside the company’s core work, and that you were an independent professional who provided services to other companies, too. In most cases, truck drivers are employees under this test. Other factors can also impact the evaluation of whether you are an employee or independent contractor, and there are situations in which a truck driver is treated as an owner-operator and independent contractor, rather than an employee, but if the trucking company cannot show you’re an independent contractor, we should be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. It’s important to seek knowledgeable legal counsel for your claim.

Legal Representation for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in and Around Chicago

When our lawyers are able to show a truck driver is an employee rather than an independent contractor, we may be able to obtain benefits for losses the trucker suffered as a result of work-related injuries. These are no-fault benefits, meaning we do not need to show the trucking company was negligent or otherwise at fault to secure benefits for an injured trucker.

Likewise, the trucking company cannot get your benefits reduced by establishing that your comparative negligence contributed to the truck accident in which you were injured. Assuming your injuries are job-related, and you are an employee, benefits we can obtain may include medical benefits , disability, and vocational rehabilitation benefits. The extent of your disability will determine whether these benefits are temporary or permanent, and partial or total. If, for example, you were paralyzed in a truck accident with another big rig such that you can no longer work, you may be able to obtain permanent total disability benefits, along with medical care.

Third-Party Liability

Our lawyers are experienced personal injury attorneys as well. If we can show a third party, such as another driver, was liable for your injuries, we may be able to establish your entitlement to damages. Unlike workers’ compensation benefits, which are limited to a portion of your economic losses, damages in a lawsuit could include both economic and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. In most cases, we would need to establish a third party’s negligence caused your injuries by showing: (1) the defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care, (2) the defendant breached the duty to use reasonable care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. In cases of egregious misconduct by another, such as a drunk driver, we may be able to obtain punitive damages.

Consult an Experienced Attorney for Truck Drivers

If you need to obtain workers’ compensation benefits as a truck driver who has been told you’re an independent contractor, you should consult our seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers rather than assume the denial is legitimate. Our lawyers represent injured truck drivers in Rockford, Champaign, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane, Cook, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.