Medical Benefits for Injured Uber Drivers
Chicago Lawyers Helping Gig Workers
As an Uber driver, you may have signed a contract specifying that you are driving as an independent contractor. Unlike employees, independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured on the job. However, Uber doesn’t have the last word on whether you are an employee. Medical benefits for injured Uber drivers may be available for your work-related injuries. Consult an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney who understands how to approach the question of employment status.
Illinois follows the ABC test when determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. There’s a presumption that you are an employee, unless the employer can establish in a pertinent proceeding, such as a workers’ compensation hearing: (1) you were free from direction or control over how you provided rides, (2) providing rides was outside the company’s usual course of business, and (3) you were engaged in an independently established business, profession, occupation or trade. Depending on the circumstances, and if Uber cannot prove your case meets the criteria for an independent contractor, you may be eligible for medical benefits through the workers’ compensation system. If you have questions about your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, contact an experienced lawyer to discuss your situation.
Medical Benefits for Injured Uber Drivers
In Illinois, workers’ compensation benefits include medical benefits. Your employer’s insurer should pay for all reasonable and necessary medical care needed to cure or relieve the impact of your injury. In some cases, this is simply the cost of a visit to the emergency room. In other cases, you may require surgery or ongoing medical care to treat the injury.
Your employer or its insurer may question whether your injuries are serious or disagree with your treating doctor’s approach and ask you to attend an independent medical exam (IME) with a doctor of its choice. The IME doctor does not owe you a duty of confidentiality and is not on your side. Often an IME doctor is selected because she has a track record of siding with employers, whether that involves recommending conservative treatments or finding that workers can go back to work, even when they have residual pain. Attendance at an IME is mandatory; your benefits could be stopped if you do not go. It may be wise to bring someone with you and document what happens at the visit at the time it happens, including how long the visit is and what you were asked.
Choosing a Doctor
You are entitled to choose your own doctor to treat your work-related injury. If your employer belongs to a preferred provider network, you can select two doctors from that network. In other words, you can make a first choice of doctor from the network, and if you don’t like that doctor, you can still select another doctor from the network. Any referrals made by a chosen doctor do not count against you as one of the two choices. For example, if you see a family care practitioner as your first choice and she refers you to an orthopedist, you still have a remaining choice and that doctor can also refer you to another specialist.
However, workers’ compensation will only cover those two chosen doctors and their referrals. If you decide you like neither of your chosen doctors and you want to see another doctor, the third doctor won’t be covered by workers’ compensation. Furthermore, if you choose a doctor that is out-of-network to start with, you only get that one choice. The ER doctor you see after an acute injury does not count as a first doctor.
Your choice in doctor is important. You want to see a licensed physician whose opinion would hold in front of a workers’ compensation arbitrator, in the event you have a dispute with Uber’s insurer.
Consult a Seasoned Attorney in Chicago
Rideshare drivers are exposed to various risks of injury on the road. If you are worried about medical benefits for injured Uber drivers in Chicago, you should discuss your circumstances with the seasoned workers’ compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca about your situation. We represent rideshare drivers in Aurora, Quincy, Champaign, and Rockford, along with Winnebago, Cook, Adams, Sangamon, and Kane Counties. Call us at 312-724-5846 or complete our online form.