Uber Drivers' Workers' Compensation Claims

Chicago Lawyers for Injuries Suffered On the Job

The gig economy has resulted in greater freedom for some workers. Independent contractors are supposed to be given freedom in how they do their work and for whom they work. However, when independent contractors are injured while working, they can’t file workers’ compensation claims. Many employers misclassify their workers as independent contractors, or sometimes partners, for the purposes of removing some of the obligations they have towards employees, including their obligations related to workers’ compensation benefits. If you are an Uber driver with a potential work injury claim, an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney who keeps up with the evolving area of law related to benefits for gig economy workers can assess your options.

Uber Drivers’ Workers’ Compensation Claims

In Illinois, just because your employer has labeled you an independent contractor doesn’t mean that’s what you are. Rather, a number of factors should be considered in determining whether you should be classified as an employee or as an independent contractor or partner. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission will consider those factors to determine whether you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. As an Uber driver, you should not assume your claim is foreclosed because your employer treats you like an independent contractor or because when you were initially hired you were told you were a partner.

If you are injured on the job, you should file a workers’ compensation claim. If Uber disputes your claim, there will be an opportunity to appeal the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. If you hire an attorney who is able to show proof that your job-related responsibilities should classify you as an employee, you could be found to be an employee entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Is a Rideshare Driver an Employee?

Uber may be misclassifying you. This issue has come before both state and federal courts. Lower state courts have found that if a rideshare company sets the fare, controls how you perform your job such as requiring you to follow certain routes, and controls your conversations with the passengers, it is acting an employer. Federal courts have ruled differently than state courts. This is an area of law that is evolving, which is why it is best to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

The California Supreme Court has adopted what’s called the ABC test in a case involving a delivery driver who was classified as an independent contractor. An employer trying to establish a worker is an independent contractor needs to show that the contractor is providing services without being controlled by the company, the service lies outside the core business of the company, and the contractor is an independent professional involved in providing service to companies aside from the one in question.

Factors that can affect this test include whether there’s a potential for profit or loss, whether you’re involved in a separate business, job, or trade doing the same kind of work, how much control your employer has over you, and whether you have job duties that are distinct from the usual course of the employer’s business. When there is more potential to lose money or earn a profit, the court will be more inclined to find that you are an independent contractor. The California ruling may help shape the gig economy, since the company is unlikely to operate one way in California and a different way in other states. As such, Uber drivers’ worker’ compensation claims may be possible for more workers in the future.

The ABC test had already been adopted in Illinois prior to being adopted by the California Supreme Court. If you are able to establish you are actually an employee of Uber under the ABC test, you should be able to get benefits. For many gig economy workers, this is hugely helpful because workers’ compensation benefits include medical and disability benefits. For example, if you are in a multi-car collision in which the other drivers are uninsured, and you suffer several fractured bones and are unable to drive for six months, it is important to be able to obtain some form of medical benefits and disability benefits.

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Chicago Area Residents

If you are an Uber driver with a possible workers’ compensation claim in Chicago, it’s wise to talk to a knowledgeable lawyer who keeps up with the changing laws associated with ridesharing and the gig economy. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent injured workers in Rockford, Quincy, Champaign, and Aurora, as well as Winnebago, Adams, Kane, Sangamon, and Cook Counties. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.