Insurer's Independent Medical Exam for Uber Drivers
You may enjoy the flexibility of working as an Uber driver in the gig economy. However, as a driver, you’re also at risk of injuries, whether from crashes or repetitive stress. After suffering job-related injuries, you may be worried about filing a workers’ compensation claim under the assumption that your independent contractor agreement with Uber does not entitle you to benefits. Fortunately, Illinois presumes that all workers are employees unless a company is able to show that its worker is an independent contractor. However, even if the company admits that you’re an employee, you still may face significant obstacles, such as an insurer’s independent medical exam for Uber drivers. If you have questions about an upcoming independent medical exam (IME), you should talk to our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys about your case.ABC Test for Drivers
Illinois follows the ABC test to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. To avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits, Uber will need to establish certain elements at a relevant workers’ compensation proceeding. It must show that you are: (1) free from its control, (2) you also work in an independent profession, and (3) that driving is outside Uber’s usual course of business. A lawyer can help you gather the relevant evidence and present the strongest arguments in your favor so that Uber may have difficulty establishing that you are an independent contractor.Insurer’s Independent Medical Exam for Uber Drivers
Uber’s insurer may ask you to attend an IME, which is also known as a section 12 exam. Under section 12, workers who are entitled to receive disability pay can be required to submit themselves for examination to a duly qualified medical practitioner by Uber or its insurer. The IME should occur at a time and place reasonably convenient for you. Its purpose is to determine the extent, nature, and probable duration of your injuries. Additionally, an IME can be used to determine the amount of compensation Uber’s insurer owes you.
Uber’s insurer should provide you with proper notice of the IME and pay for your food, travel, and lost wages. Uber can withhold benefits if you refuse to undergo the IME as specified in the notice.
In some cases, Uber’s insurer may ask the IME doctor to answer specific questions. For example, if your physician recommended surgery to treat your extensive injuries, the insurer may ask whether a more conservative treatment would be appropriate. The insurer may also ask the IME doctor to evaluate the injuries, determine the proper treatment, and provide an opinion about the anticipated duration of your work-related disability.
You should keep in mind that the IME doctor does not owe you a duty of confidentiality. Any information you share during your IME could be used to formulate opinions that are unhelpful to your claim for benefits. Even so, you should be aware that your benefits may be denied if you don’t go. If the case proceeds to a hearing, the arbitrator will look at various factors, including the credibility of the IME doctor compared to your treating physician.
After an exam, Uber’s IME doctor will prepare a report that may include opinions about your diagnosis, how you were injured, the impact of any pre-existing conditions, whether the injuries are work-related, reasonable and necessary medical treatment, and any limitations that will affect you when you return to work.
If you or the insurer provides medical testimony, the required medical reports should be exchanged before the evidence is presented on the first day of the hearing. In general, an employer that relies on a reasonable medical opinion, even if it conflicts with that of your treating physician, will not be subject to penalties.Third-Party Lawsuit
If you were injured in a car accident while working for Uber, you may be able to recover damages by establishing that another driver acted with negligence. In most cases, you’ll need to prove that the other driver’s conduct fell below the standard of care, given the circumstances, and thereby caused your injuries.Discuss Your Claim With a Chicago Attorney
An insurer’s independent medical exam for Uber drivers can affect the outcome of a claim. You should discuss your situation with the tenacious Chicago lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We also represent Uber drivers in Quincy, Champaign, Rockford, and Aurora, as well as Winnebago, Sangamon, Cook, Kane, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.