Injured Uber Drivers
The gig economy is growing. Often workers are hired through the digital marketplace, and this is true for Uber drivers. Uber services don’t fit easily into our existing laws. Uber and other rideshare companies prefers to hire drivers as independent contractors. This preference, however, doesn’t necessarily dictate whether the driver is truly an independent contractor under the law. As an Uber driver you may be an employee. Whether you are an employee can become an important issue. Injured workers who are employees can obtain benefits for medical coverage, lost wages, and more. If you are an injured Uber driver who was hurt at work, a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can advise you regarding your legal rights and options.Working as a Rideshare Driver
Often people prefer to rely on Uber to get around Chicago instead of driving their own cars or hailing a cab. Uber requires potential passengers to download an app on their phones and send out a request for a ride to available drivers. There are few requirements to be an Uber driver. You’ll need a current car, an in-state license plate, an up-to-date registration, and your car needs to meet specific requirements. Uber may make you sign a contract that states you are an independent contractor, since you use your own car to give rides and you can set your own schedule. However, this arrangement is made mostly for Uber’s benefit, since it this means it won’t need to provide overtime pay, employment benefits, or workers’ compensation coverage. As an Uber driver, you may have more freedom, but what happens if you get injured and need to take time off work?Injured Uber Drivers
Uber drivers are vulnerable to a wide range of injuries, which often arise due to car accidents. These injuries can include broken bones, lacerations, cuts, crushing injuries, internal organ damage, brain damage, and paralysis. An Uber driver may be able to sue the other driver involved in the accident for purposes of recovering damages if the other driver was at fault. However, bringing a lawsuit under these circumstances usually requires a plaintiff to establish the other driver’s or another party’s negligence. It can take a long time before a plaintiff recovers damages, assuming he or she wins the case. In contrast, workers’ compensation benefits may be paid to an injured employee right away and you don’t need to prove fault.
Employees are entitled to get certain benefits and protections including workers’ compensation. Independent contractors cannot obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Sometimes employers misclassify workers for purposes of avoiding their duties towards employees. It can be expensive to provide workers’ compensation benefits and some employers like to cut corners to avoid this expense.
However, in Illinois, being classified as an independent contractor by your employer is not determinative. Several factors go into the question of whether you are an employee or independent contractor. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission can consider these factors in deciding whether you should get benefits.
You can file a workers’ compensation claim, and then if Uber disputes the claim, you can appeal, and a seasoned work injury lawyer can help.Judicial Decisions
It’s important to realize that this is a fuzzy area of law that is evolving. State courts and federal courts disagree. The California Supreme Court has adopted an ABC test that is used in Illinois to determine an employee’s status. Under this test, Uber could only show you are properly classified as an independent contractor if it can show you provide services without company control, your services are outside its core business, and that you are an independent professional who gives services to business other than Uber. If you can show you are Uber’s employee under the ABC test, you may be able to get Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. These can include medical benefits, disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation benefits.Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Chicago Employees
If you are an injured Uber driver interested in seeking workers’ compensation benefits in Chicago, an experienced lawyer can evaluate your potential claim. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent injured workers in Rockford, Aurora, Quincy, and Champaign, as well as Cook, Kane, Winnebago, Adams, and Sangamon Counties. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.