Uber Drivers With Back Injuries

Chicago Lawyers for Workers’ Compensation Claims

Your spine is made up of 33 bones known as vertebrae and runs from your skull to your pelvis. The vertebrae surround the spinal cord, which is made up of nerve tissue. There are disks made of cartilage between each vertebra, and they serve to absorb shock in an accident. The top seven vertebrae are the cervical vertebrae. Next are the 12 thoracic vertebrae. In the lower back are the lumbar vertebrae. At the spine’s base are the sacrum, which includes 5 fused vertebrae, and the coccyx or tail bone, made up of 4 fused vertebrae. Back injuries are common for those who drive for a living. These back injuries can be the result of sitting for long periods, but they can also be from sudden trauma in a car accident. If you are an Uber driver with a back injury, you may be able to recover benefits or compensation. Often workers’ compensation claims are more challenging for Uber drivers, making it advisable to consult an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.

Uber Drivers with Back Injuries

Back injuries often occur in the lower back and can include herniated discs, sprains and strains, or fractured vertebrae. Any of these injuries can significantly restrict your ability to drive or even move. The treatments can involve bed rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, pain killers, and surgery. Another serious back injury is spondylolisthesis, which involves slipped vertebra, usually at the base of the spine. Cervical radiculopathy is also a serious back injury, and it involves harm based on compression of a nerve root. The result can be weakness, pain, and loss of sensation.

Serious back injuries can be disabling, which means you would not be able to drive and you may have no way to make money. It can be crucial to your survival to be able to acquire workers’ compensation benefits. However, as an Uber driver, you may encounter many challenges in the effort to get benefits.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Third Party Lawsuits

Uber classifies its rideshare drivers as independent contractors. Independent contractors do not get workers’ compensation benefits or a host of other protections available to employees. However, Uber may be misclassifying you when it calls you an independent contractor. It’s important not to assume that the label Uber has given you is accurate. You may not need to pay your own medical costs or fall behind on bills while you recuperate from a back injury. The courts are split on whether rideshare drivers, like Uber drivers, should be treated as independent contractors or employees. In Illinois, the courts have adopted something called the ABC test. Under this standard, to avoid a workers’ compensation claim, Uber will need to show that you serve without company control, the service you provide isn’t its core business, and you’re an independent professional serving companies besides Uber. Uber has significant control over its drivers, and rideshares are its primary business.

Even if you’re able to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, the employer or an insurer may put up significant hurdles. Often those who suffer back injuries have a pre-existing back problem. For example, you may be incapacitated by a herniated or ruptured disc after an accident, but you may have previously had a degenerative disc disease, and the insurer may point to your pre-existing condition as the basis for its denial of benefits. However, so long as your pre-existing condition was aggravated or exacerbated by the work, you should be able to get benefits.

Additionally, if you were in a car accident, you may have a third party claim against the other driver, a manufacturer, or a property owner. Our lawyers are skillful at pursuing compensation for clients through workers’ compensation, personal injury lawsuits, or SSDI.

Consult a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago

If you are an Uber driver with back injuries in Chicago, it may be challenging to access workers’ compensation benefits or other recourse. The tenacious lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck are available to represent injured drivers in Rockford, Quincy, Aurora, and Champaign, as well as Winnebago, Adams, Cook, Sangamon, and Kane Counties. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.