Overpayments to Injured Lyft Drivers
It can be difficult for Lyft drivers to obtain the workers’ compensation benefits to which they are entitled because Lyft claims its drivers are independent contractors rather than employees. When drivers receive workers’ compensation benefits, but the insurer or arbitrator later determines that the drivers were not entitled to these benefits, the company may seek to recoup overpayments to injured Lyft drivers. If you are a Lyft driver who was injured while transporting passengers, seek a consultation with an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.Overpayments to Injured Lyft Drivers
Generally, employers and their insurers are encouraged to make prompt, voluntary payments of benefits to further the purposes of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. However, in the course of making such payments, mistakes may be made. Overpayments occur any time workers are paid benefits to which they were not entitled. However, when the worker filed the initial claim, it may not have been entirely clear what benefits the worker should have been paid. There may be a complicated or incorrect initial analysis of a worker’s average weekly wage, for instance.
Workers’ compensation benefits are calculated based on a claimant’s average weekly wage, which is your actual earnings in the 52 weeks before the injury date divided by 52. However, if you did not work for 5 or more days during the 52 weeks, the pay for those days is deducted and divided by the remaining number of weeks. If you started working during the 52 weeks before the work accident, your actual earnings will be divided by however many weeks you did earn wages. The insurer may not use the right method of calculation or may fail to include some aspect of your pay.
In other cases, your employer may start making payments to your doctor because you require immediate medical treatment and medication. A subsequent investigation may lead an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission to determine that your injuries were not work-related and that an overpayment occurred. Likewise, an arbitrator’s clerical error in awarding benefits may also result in an overpayment.Claim of Overpayments to Injured Lyft Drivers
According to Illinois law, employers are entitled to receive credits when they have overpaid benefits to injured workers. When an overpayment has occurred, the employer is discharged from their obligation to make payments until the overpayment is erased.
In order to figure out whether an overpayment occurred, an insurer may bring a claim. If you disagree and believe you were paid the proper amount, an audit can be conducted, comparing what you were actually paid with the Commissioner’s formal award. Through this audit, it can be determined whether you were overpaid. In such a proceeding, a lawyer can protect your legal rights and independently analyze the original payments to see if an overpayment actually occurred.
In other cases, an audit may reveal an overpayment. If you received an overpayment of benefits, your future payments will likely be impacted. Claimants who are living on the limited funds available through the workers’ compensation system may feel stressed. In most cases, the administrative law judge will specify an amount to be deducted from your future payments and this deduction will remain in place until the insurer has recouped its overpayment.
You might be asked to write a personal check to cover the reimbursement. You should consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine whether the amount owed can be paid back through the reduction of future payments instead of as a lump sum.Third Party Lawsuit
When workers’ compensation benefits are not sufficient to cover your bills, you may feel stressed to realize that you were overpaid and will therefore receive even less in future benefits. If you are a Lyft driver who was injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit for damages. Our attorneys can help evaluate whether a third party lawsuit is appropriate.Retain a Seasoned Chicago Attorney
Lyft drivers face many challenges when trying to obtain or keep their workers’ compensation benefits. If you are a Lyft driver concerned about overpayments, you should talk over your situation with the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our firm represents injured Lyft drivers in Chicago, Aurora, Quincy, Champaign, and Rockford, along with Kane, Sangamon, Winnebago, Cook, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.