Amazon Flex Drivers with Back Injuries
Chicago Lawyers for Delivery Workers
Back injuries are common and can be debilitating. Drivers who deliver packages for a living may be unable to drive any longer as a result of a back injury. Amazon Flex drivers with back injuries may assume that they cannot obtain workers’ compensation benefits because Amazon Flex does not consider them to be employees. You may have even signed an Amazon Flex agreement stating that you are an independent contractor. However, some workers are misclassified as independent contractors so that their employers can avoid paying benefits. The Amazon Flex program does not have the last word on whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. You should consult the Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to determine whether you have a viable claim for benefits.
Are You an Employee?
You are not an independent contractor simply because your employer told you that you were. Illinois adheres to what is known as the ABC test, which presumes that a worker is an employee. In order to show you are an independent contractor and not an employee, Amazon Flex must prove that you are an independent contractor in a pertinent proceeding. It will need to show you have been outside Amazon Flex’s control or direction in performing services, that driving is outside its usual course of business, and you are engaged in a separate business.
Amazon Flex Drivers with Back Injuries
Amazon Flex drivers may sustain many different kinds of injuries to their back as a result of their work. While driving, your body may experience vibrations that run up-and-down and side-to-side. Prolonged sitting as you drive can also lead to back pain. Drivers who lift heavy packages can sustain disc herniation and other spinal cord damage. Further, a car crash can damage discs, ligaments, vertebrae, soft tissues and nerves of the back.
If you sustain back injuries on the job as an Amazon Flex driver, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, including medical benefits, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits. Medical benefits cover any necessary, reasonable care for your back injuries. For example, if you suffered sciatica due to a work injury, you may be entitled to have Amazon’s insurer provide you with regular medical care and epidural corticosteroid shots. If the injury is severe enough, you may also be entitled to surgery.
You should anticipate the possibility that Amazon’s insurer will doubt that your back injuries are as serious as you and your doctor claim. Insurers sometimes conduct surveillance, both on social media and in person, on claimants they believe are malingering or dishonest about the severity of their injuries.
Disability benefits may be temporary or permanent depending on the nature of the back injury. Some back injuries last only a few weeks, during which time you may not be able to drive. In such an instance, you may be able to obtain temporary total disability benefits at the rate of 2/3 of your average weekly wage as an Amazon Flex driver. However, when back injuries have a permanent impact on a worker’s life, you may be able to receive permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits. There are four different ways permanent partial benefits may be calculated.
Those who can no longer work as Amazon Flex drivers due to their severe back injury may try to move into another line of work. You may be able to obtain vocational rehabilitation as part of your benefits with the assistance of our attorneys. Section 8(a) may require an employer to pay for an injured employees’ vocational rehabilitation or retraining. The employer may need to provide maintenance expenses that are incidental to the vocational rehabilitation during the period in which vocational rehabilitation is obtained.
Third Party Lawsuits
If you are an Amazon Flex driver who suffered a back injury in a crash while on the job, your options may be broader. You may be entitled to bring a third-party lawsuit against an at-fault driver who caused the crash. In general, greater compensation can be obtained through a third-party lawsuit than is available through a workers’ compensation claim.
Retain a Seasoned Chicago Attorney
Amazon Flex drivers with back injuries should discuss their situation with the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our firm represents injured Amazon Flex drivers in Chicago, Aurora, Quincy, Champaign, and Rockford, along with Kane, Winnebago, Cook, Sangamon, and Adams Counties. Call us at 312-724-5846 or complete our online form.