Lyft Drivers' Workers' Compensation Claims

Chicago Lawyers for Rideshare Operators Hurt On the Job

Lyft is one of the ridesharing programs that provides drivers with more flexibility in their work schedules, and the chance to make more money. However, Lyft doesn’t classify its drivers as employees, and this means that if the worker suffers injuries in a car accident or in another way while working, Lyft’s insurance company may deny benefits. A seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can help you assert your rights if you are injured while working as a Lyft driver.

Lyft Drivers’ Workers’ Compensation Claims

The important issue in a workers’ compensation claim is whether the rideshare driver should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor. Often employees are given access to workers’ compensation benefits in case of a workplace accident, but an independent contractor or a partner, which may be how a Lyft driver is classified, is not. While the gig economy allows for flexibility, some employers try to misclassify workers as independent contractors precisely to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits and to shift the burden of paying taxes. When you are denied workers’ compensation benefits as a Lyft driver, you may feel you need to pay for your own medical care and suffer the wage loss without recourse.

However, Lyft may be misclassifying you by calling you an independent contractor. Some lower state courts have agreed that where a ridesharing company controls your job performance, sets your ride fares, and controls what you can say to passengers, you may be classified as n employee. On the other hand, certain federal court judges have found otherwise, which is why it’s wise to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who keeps up with court rulings.

The California Supreme Court has held in a case involving a delivery driver for a courier service that it was improper to classify the driver as an independent contractor. It adopted the ABC test, in which an employer trying to prove someone is an independent contractor needs to show that the purported contractor is serving without being controlled by the company, the service being provided is not within the core business of the employer, and the independent contractor is an independent professional involved in offering services to companies aside from the one at issue. When the test is applied, certain factors will be considered including whether your job duties are outside the usual course of the employer’s business, how much control you’re placed under by the employer, whether you’re engaged in an independently established business, trade, or occupation of the same kind of work, and the potential for profit or loss.

Illinois adopted the ABC Test prior to its adoption by the California Supreme Court. Although your employment agreement may say otherwise, the relationship should be analyzed according to the ABC factors. Because ridesharing drivers can’t set or negotiate the fare, need to meet certain standards when driving, and need to follow certain routes, the ridesharing company has significant control over the work.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you are able to show that you are an employee, you should be able to get benefits in a Lyft drivers’ workers’ compensation claim as a result of injuries sustained on the job. For example, if you are driving a passenger to the airport and another driver smashes into your car leaving you paralyzed, you may be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits through Lyft’s workers’ compensation insurer. Benefits that may be available include medical benefits, disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation.

Generally, workers’ compensation benefits are not that significant, so it’s important to look closely at what happened to determine whether there are grounds to bring a third party lawsuit against the other driver in the accident in addition to bringing a workers’ compensation claim. Our firm handles both personal injury and workers’ compensation claims, and will look at all possible avenues for recovery.

Consult a Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago

If you are a Lyft driver who may have a workers’ compensation claim in Chicago, an experienced work injury lawyer can help you evaluate your legal options. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent injured workers with claims and appeals in Rockford, Quincy, Champaign, and Aurora, as well as Winnebago, Adams, Kane, Sangamon, and Cook Counties. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.