Lyft Drivers With Cartilage Injuries
Chicago Lawyers for Workers’ Compensation Claims
Cartilage is a connective, rubbery, flexible tissue that serves as a cushion between joints. It holds bones together, reduces friction, helps to support weight, and also serves to support other tissues. Cartilage injuries can result in joint pain, inflammation, or stiffness that make it difficult to work. Often cartilage damage needs to be treated. There is no blood supply to cartilage, which means it can take longer for cartilage to heal from damage than other tissues with blood supply. If you are a Lyft driver with a cartilage injury, you may find it challenging to continue to work. A skilled Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate your potential ability to make a claim for benefits.
Cartilage Injuries from Driving
As a Lyft driver, you may suffer cartilage injuries as a result of the repetitive motions of driving or because of an acute injury arising out of a car accident. A common cartilage injury is to the articular cartilage in the knee.
Articular cartilage covers the ends of the knee bones, and it can be damaged through direct impact, twisting, privoting, or simply by being worn down. Sometimes pieces of cartilage break away and become loose bodies in the knee. Articular cartilage injuries can result in significant pain, and can make it impossible to continue driving. This type of injury can be treated; the treatment that’s appropriate hinges on the location and size of the injuries. There are nonoperative treatments that involve changing your behavior and resting and perhaps losing weight, as well as NSAIDs and cortisone injections. Sometimes viscosupplementation is used.
Younger patients may be ordered to undergo surgery if they are unable to achieve relief through nonoperative treatment. There are different types of surgery that may be performed. In a chrondoplasty, a surgeon can smooth the damaged articular cartilage so that there are no pieces irritating the joint. In other cases, it may be appropriate to do a microfracture to bore holes in the area with damage to encourage scar tissue to fill in the injury site.
Lyft Drivers with Cartilage Injuries
You might assume that you cannot obtain workers’ compensation benefits as a Lyft driver because you signed an employment agreement stating that you are an independent contractor and are therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, it’s advisable to discuss your situation with a workers’ compensation attorney.
In Illinois, courts follow the ABC test, which requires consideration of a range of factors to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Lyft’s categorization of you as a worker is not the last word. Rather a court will look at various factors, including the degree of control Lyft exercises over your work, whether your work falls outside its core business, and whether you’re doing another independently established job, among other things. If Lyft is telling you how to do your job, you can potentially make an argument that you are a Lyft employee for purposes of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. Note that this is an evolving area of law, and it is unclear how a court would rule on an assertion of this nature.
If you are found to be an employee, the nature of your cartilage injury will impact what types of workers’ compensation benefits are appropriate in your case. Workers’ compensation benefits can include medical bills, disability pay, and vocational rehabilitation. The amount of benefits to which you’re entitled depends on the nature and extent of your cartilage injuries. For example, if surgery is reasonably necessary to treat your injuries, workers’ compensation insurance may pay for surgery. If you cannot work for a year, you may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits.
Consult a Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago
If you need to bring a workers’ compensation claim as a Lyft driver with a cartilage injury in Chicago, you can contact our firm. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our seasoned workers’ compensation lawyers can represent drivers in Champaign, Quincy, Aurora, and Rockford, along with Kane, Cook, Sangamon, Winnebago, and Adams, Counties. Contact us at 312-724-5846 or via our online form.