Partial Disability Benefits for Uber Drivers
Chicago Attorneys for Rideshare Drivers With Work Injuries
Sometimes Uber drivers are not permanently and totally disabled by on-the-job injuries, but do suffer partial disabilities that make it difficult for them to work. If you’re an Uber driver in Chicago, you may assume you are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits because you agreed to be an independent contractor when you started working for Uber. However, a company’s designation of you as an employee or independent contractor isn’t dispositive. Many employers misclassify employees to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits, along with other benefits available only to employees. You can discuss your situation with a Chicago worker’s compensation lawyer to determine whether you can make a strong claim that you are an employee entitled to partial disability benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Third Party Lawsuits
Although Uber classifies rideshare drivers as independent contractors, you shouldn’t assume the classification provided by Uber is the final word. Courts have split over whether rideshare drivers should be treated as independent contractors or employees. In Illinois, an ABC test is used to determine whether a worker is actually an employee rather than independent contractor. To avoid paying you partial disability benefits, Uber needs to show certain things. It needs to show it doesn’t have control over your service, that its core business isn’t driving, and that you provide services to other companies aside from Uber. However, in most situations, Uber maintains substantial control over drivers and providing rides to passengers is the primary business of the company. Therefore, there may be a strong argument that the company should pay partial disability benefits to an Uber driver who suffers from a partial disability as a result of work-related injuries. A seasoned workers’ compensation lawyer can help you assess the legal strategies that may be available to you.
Partial Disability Benefits for Uber Drivers
If you are temporarily partially disabled such that you are working and qualify for benefits, but haven’t reached maximum medical improvement, you may be able to get temporary partial disability benefits. The benefit is 2/3 of the difference between the average amount you earned prior to the injury and your current injuries.
There are four types of permanent partial disability benefits in Illinois: disfigurement, nonscheduled injuries, schedule injuries, and wage differential. Each is calculated differently.
Some accidents that may occur while you are driving for Uber can result in disfigurement. If disfigurement affects your neck, face, head, chest above the armpits, arms, hands, or legs below the knee, and the injuries cause permanent and serious disfigurement, they can entitle you to a maximum of 162 weeks of benefits. The number of weeks of benefits is multiplied by 50% of your average weekly wage to determine your benefit amount.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act specifies values for particular body parts that are injured; the schedule states how many weeks of permanent partial disability benefits an injured worker can receive. When an injury is left off the schedule but is a serious loss, the employee may be able to get a percentage of 500 weeks’ worth of benefits, with the percentage being based on the loss of the person as a whole. The permanent partial disability weekly rate is multiplied by how many weeks of benefits are to be received.
Meanwhile, the permanent partial disability weekly rate is 60% of your average weekly wage. You will need to take the percentage of loss in the body part and multiply that percentage by the value stated in the table. Your award is determined by multiplying the permanent partial disability weekly rate with the number of weeks.
If you need to find a new job because of an injury you experienced while working for Uber, and the new job pays less, you may be entitled to wage differential benefits. These are calculated as 2/3 the difference between what you made at a job when you were harmed and what you currently make at your new job. Wage differential benefits can be paid for the later of: five years after an award is determined or when you reach age 67.
Consult a Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Chicago
If you have questions about partial disability benefits for Uber drivers in Chicago, you can consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who understands what you’re going up against and how to present your claim for benefits. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent workers in Champaign, Rockford, Aurora, and Quincy, as well as Sangamon, Cook, Winnebago, Adams, and Kane Counties. We look carefully at our clients’ situations to determine whether there are other forms of relief available in addition to workers’ compensation. Contact us at 312-724-5846 or by completing our online form.