Vocational Rehabilitation for Amazon Flex Drivers
As an Amazon Flex driver, you may have signed an independent contractor agreement. The purpose of these agreements is often to make sure the company doesn’t need to pay the particular benefits to which employees are entitled. However, Illinois presumes you are an employee, unless Amazon Flex can show that you are not an employee at the relevant hearing. Vocational rehabilitation for Amazon Flex drivers can help those injured in a workplace accident change jobs or occupations. If you need vocational rehabilitation as a result of a workplace injury, you should discuss your claim with the Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our firm may be able to help you.Vocational Rehabilitation for Amazon Flex Drivers
The Amazon Flex program may have classified you as an independent contractor, but it doesn’t have the last word. In order to establish that you’re an independent contractor and not an employee, Amazon Flex will need to show: (1) it doesn’t control your work, (2) you’re engaged in a separate occupation, and (3) the driving you do for Amazon Flex is outside its usual scope of business. Workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for an employee’s job-related injuries. The workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. If you can show your head injury is work-related, and Amazon Flex can’t show you were not an employee, you should be able to get all the same workers’ compensation benefits other employees receive, without showing Amazon Flex’s negligence or other fault. Likewise, Amazon Flex can’t avoid paying you benefits by showing you were partially to blame for your work-related injuries.
Vocational rehabilitation is one of several workers’ compensation benefits to which you may be entitled. If you suffer serious injuries to your knee or shoulder, for example, you may be able to work, but you likely can’t work as a driver. Under Section 8(a) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, your employer can be required to pay for the expenses and maintenance costs that arise in connection with pursuing vocational rehabilitation. You’re entitled to vocational rehabilitation if you suffer a work injury that reduces your earning power and there is evidence vocational rehabilitation would increase your earning ability. You don’t need to ask for vocational rehabilitation in order to be entitled to it.
However, it’s not always clear at what point an employer must provide that benefit. And there’s no set standard to decide what type of vocational rehabilitation should be provided. Generally, the employer is supposed to assess what rehabilitation might be needed to put you back in your job once it can be reasonably determined you won’t come back to your regular duty or your period of incapacity is greater than 120 continuous days. Amazon Flex’s assessment is supposed to look at whether a plan involving vocational evaluation, limited duty or retraining is needed. This plan should be provided to you.
Whether vocational rehabilitation services should be provided may be determined by an arbitrator at an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission hearing. Amazon Flex is likely to argue that you to establish entitlement to vocational rehabilitation, you need to first make a good faith effort to find a job and show that you can’t find a job that fits your physical limitations.Third-Party Lawsuit
Sometimes Amazon Flex drivers are injured in car crashes or other accident caused by a third party. In that case, you may be able to bring a third-party lawsuit to recover compensation. Most personal injury lawsuits are brought by a lawyer under a theory of negligence. You’ll need to establish: (1) the defendant owed you a duty of care, (2) this duty was breached, (3) the breach caused your injuries, and (5) damages.Retain a Seasoned Chicago Attorney
If you have questions about vocational rehabilitation for Amazon Flex drivers, ask the seasoned lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our firm also represents Amazon Flex drivers in Aurora, Chicago, Rockford, and Champaign, and as well as Kane, Cook, Winnebago, Adams, Sangamon, and Winnebago Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.