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Subrogation of Uber Drivers' Workers Compensation Claims

Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Uber Drivers

As an Uber driver, you may be on the road for long hours and face the risk of getting into accidents that cause catastrophic, disabling injuries. After an accident, you may be concerned about your ability to pay medical bills and take time off work. You may have signed a contract with Uber in which you agreed you are an independent contractor rather than an employee. However, in Illinois the presumption is that you are an employee unless Uber is able to meet a test to show you are an independent contractor at a relevant hearing. Retaining knowledgeable counsel can improve your chances of getting past hurdles such as arguments that you are not entitled to benefits. It can also assist with handling complicated and difficult subrogation issues that may arise in connection with personal injury lawsuits brought in connection with the vehicle accident that gave rise to your workers’ compensation claim. If you are concerned about subrogation of Uber drivers’ workers’ compensation claims, you should discuss your situation with our knowledgeable Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers.

Subrogation of Uber Drivers’ Workers’ Compensation Claims

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act was designed to make it easier for an employee to obtain compensation for job-related injuries. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. In exchange for a system in which workers don’t need to prove employer or coworker’ liability for a job-related accident, workers give up the right to sue an employer or coworkers for job-related injuries and are restricted to workers’ compensation benefits. However, these benefits aren’t as broad in scope as personal injury damages; for instance, they don’t provide for losses incurred due to pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment. If you are an Uber driver who was injured in an accident caused by another, you may be able to bring a third-party lawsuit against at-fault parties. Uber’s insurer will have a subrogation interest in your third-party lawsuit.

Our Chicago lawyers will need to formally notify Uber of your third-party lawsuit. Under 820 ILCS 305/5(b), Uber and its insurer are given the chance to join the action if they so choose. Employers can preserve their lien rights under section 5(b) by petitioning to intervene or serving a lien letter. By filing notice of the lien, Uber and its insurer make sure they protect their lien and ability to be part of the civil lawsuit. However, Uber and its insurer may choose not to take advantage of lien rights for strategic reasons. The analysis of whether to exercise subrogation interests is complex. In some cases, it may not be worth it to Uber to pursue reimbursement.

Reimbursement

The lien right is intended to prevent double recovery for the same injury and allows the employer the full reimbursement allowed. Under section 5(b), an employer can sue a third party directly to enforce a statutory lien for benefits it paid related to your accident, even if you don’t pursue a lawsuit. There is a narrow window of time within which Uber and its insurer can file suit. Uber and its insurer will weigh various factors to decide whether to go after reimbursement in connection with a workers’ compensation claim you bring. Your employer is entitled to be reimbursed with the proceeds of your third-party lawsuit in connection with your workers’ compensation claim. However, Uber and its insurer need to account for fees and expenses that constitute its pro rata share of the costs associated with pursuing the third-party lawsuit. Additionally, your employer’s subrogation interest doesn’t include certain elements of your damages award or settlement. For instance, Uber can’t recover reimbursement for loss of consortium, because that’s not part of the losses you could recover in your workers’ compensation claim. However, Uber and its insurer are entitled to reimbursable costs for past and future benefits not made in a lump sum settlement.

Settlement

When Uber has a lien on a third-party lawsuit in Chicago, you and the third party will not be able to enter into a release or settlement of your claim for damages without written consent from Uber. The exception is when Uber has been fully indemnified or protected by court order.

Hire an Experienced Chicago Law Firm to Handle Subrogation Issues

Subrogation rights are difficult to navigate. The experienced attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck and Bertuca represent injured Uber drivers in Champaign, Rockford, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane, Cook, and Adams Counties. When we talk to a prospective client, we look at all available forms of relief for injuries including workers’ compensation claims, civil actions, and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.