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Initial Claims for Injured Lyft Drivers

Chicago Lawyers Helping Rideshare Drivers

Workers’ compensation insurance is intended to cover all of an employees’ job-related injuries. As a Lyft driver, you may have agreed in a contract that you are not an employee. Sometimes companies require employees to sign these agreements in order to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits or to skirt laws that apply only to employees and not independent contractors. However, Lyft cannot bind you to a contract that says you’re not an employee. Instead Lyft needs to meet a specific test to avoid paying your workers’ compensation claim. Because filing initial claims for injured Lyft drivers has this additional hurdle, you should consult the seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to discuss your case.

Initial Claims for Injured Lyft Drivers

Misclassification occurs when an employer treats a worker as an independent contractor even though he is actually an employee. In Illinois, there is a presumption that you are an employee even if you’re a Lyft driver. In order to eliminate this presumption, Lyft will have to show in a relevant workers’ compensation proceeding that: (1) you’ve been and will keep being free from Lyft’s direction or control over your driving, (2) your driving fell outside Lyft’s usual course of business, and (3) you’re also involved in a separate business, profession, occupation or trade.

Notice of Injury

You should let Lyft know about your work-related injuries in writing as soon as you can and certainly within 45 days. Often it’s wise to provide this notice in an email. That way you have proof in writing of giving notice and you also have a copy of the particular notice you provided. The notice should describe what occurred to cause the injury, as well as the date and time it happened. If you don’t provide timely notice, you can lose your right to benefits. Additionally, when you delay, Lyft’s insurer may be skeptical that the injury is work-related and deny that the claim falls within its coverage.

Lyft should file an accident report with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission within 30 days. This report simply lets the Commission know there’s been an accident. Lyft must also let its insurer know to process the claim. Lyft’s insurer is supposed to investigate your claim. This can include an evaluation of your medical records and tests, along with any treatment. Lyft or its insurer should tell you whether the claim is going to be honored or denied. If you are denied benefits, you should receive a written explanation of the denial. Your claim may be denied because Lyft insists you are an independent contractor. However, it could also be denied because Lyft disputes that the injury is job-related. Claims can also be denied if you fail to provide notice in 45 days. Lyft and its insurer cannot avoid your claim by citing your pre-existing condition. A worker is entitled to benefits if the job exacerbated or aggravated a pre-existing condition. If you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits, you should consult with a lawyer to review your case and discuss filing an Application for Adjustment of Claim.

Application for Adjustment of Claim

Whether your workers’ compensation claim is paid or denied, you can file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Filing the Application can be important because sometimes insurers start out by paying claims, but then abruptly deny them. Keeping an application on file can hasten the process of dispute resolution in case the insurer stops paying benefits or denies certain benefits after investigating. The application needs to be filed within three years of the date of injury. If you were paid some benefits, but the insurer terminated benefits before paying you everything to which you were entitled, you have two years from the date of the last benefit payment to file your application. When you file an application, an arbitrator will be assigned to your claim. Every sixty days, there will be a status call until a hearing is requested on a disputed matter.

Third-Party Lawsuit

If your work-related injuries were sustained in a car accident caused by a third party, you may be able to hold the third party accountable in court. In third-party lawsuits, it may be important to show that another driver’s actions or omissions fell below the standard of care, thereby causing your injuries. Sometimes other parties should also be brought into the suit. Lyft or its insurer may have the right to recover expenses associated with your workers’ compensation claim if a third party is found to be at fault.

Consult a Seasoned Chicago Attorney

Discuss your circumstances with the workers’ compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca before bringing initial claims for injured Lyft drivers. We handle the claims of injured Lyft drivers in Chicago, Quincy, Aurora, Champaign, and Rockford. We also represent Lyft drivers in Winnebago, Cook, Adams, Sangamon, and Kane Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.