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Insurer’s Independent Medical Exam for Lyft Drivers

Chicago Lawyers Helping Injured Gig Workers

Lyft drivers can be seriously injured in accidents and from repetitive stress. Although you may have signed an independent contractor agreement with Lyft, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In Illinois, workers are presumed to be employees. Accordingly, Lyft bears the burden of establishing that you are not an employee. Even so, you may face difficulties getting the medical benefits you need. Often, insurers may request an independent medical exam if they suspect an employee of malingering or believe that the treatment recommended by the physician is inappropriate. Because an insurer’s independent medical exam for Lyft drivers may affect the medical benefits and disability payments provided, you should meet with a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to prepare your claim.

Insurer’s Independent Medical Exam for Lyft Drivers

As a Lyft driver, you may sustain catastrophic injuries such as broken bones, amputations, paralysis, or traumatic brain injury in a car accident. In other cases, driving for long periods or performing repetitive motions may cause repetitive stress injuries. To prevent you from receiving workers’ compensation insurance coverage, Lyft’s insurer will need to establish that you aren’t an employee at the relevant proceeding. For example, if you are not receiving disability pay that you need, you may ask for a hearing before an arbitrator at the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission. At that hearing, Lyft’s insurer would need to show that you are not an employee by establishing the elements of the ABC test: (1) you are free from the company’s control over how you drive; (2) your driving is outside Lyft’s typical course of business; and (3) you’re involved in an independently established profession or occupation.

Even if Lyft is unable to establish that you are an independent contractor, you may face substantial push-back to the payment of reasonable and necessary medical care and disability benefits. Lyft’s insurer may require an independent medical exam (IME) if your physician requested authorization for expensive medical treatments, it disagrees with your physician’s medical opinion, it seeks more evidence of your disability, or to determine the appropriateness of certain work restrictions. If you do not undergo the required IME, Lyft’s insurer may stop paying benefits.

During the IME

Before the IME, your medical records and other documents will be sent to the IME doctor. If the insurer is disputing one or more of your claims, it may send a letter to the IME doctor asking specific questions, such as whether the diagnosis your treating physician provided is accurate and whether your injuries are work-related. The insurer may ask the doctor to evaluate whether and when you will be able to return to work, as well as the nature and anticipated duration of any partial disabilities.

IMEs are not necessarily impartial because insurers typically retain doctors who are known to side with insurers in the course of a dispute about the proper treatment or the extent of disability.

After the IME

Often, IME doctors recommend a conservative course of care. They may disagree with your treating physician’s recommendations about medical care, or they may require you to return to work for Lyft without the restrictions recommended by your doctor to allow your injuries to properly heal. It can be wise to bring someone with you to the IME and to pay careful attention to how long the IME lasts and the nature of the exam.

Third-Party Lawsuits

If you’re injured on the job due to a car accident, you may be able to obtain damages through a third-party lawsuit. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, in a personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer must establish that another party was negligent by a preponderance of the evidence.

Talk to a Chicago Attorney About Your Claim

If you’re worried about an insurer’s independent medical exam for Lyft drivers, you should discuss your situation with the experienced Chicago attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We also represent Lyft drivers in Quincy, Champaign, Aurora, and Rockford, , as well as Winnebago, Sangamon, Kane, Adams and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-724-5846 or complete our online form.