Workers' Compensation Hearings for Uber Drivers
Even when a workers’ compensation claim is clearly legitimate, it may be denied by an insurer looking to protect its profit. There is a greater risk of an unfair denial if you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor by Uber. You can ask for a hearing before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission if your claim has been denied. If you’re concerned with the fairness of workers’ compensation hearings for Uber drivers, consult with the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We may be able to help you.Are You Entitled to Benefits as an Uber Driver?
The workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system in which employees are able to obtain benefits for their work-related injuries without establishing the fault of their employer or anyone else. If you make a workers’ compensation claim, Uber may argue you are an independent contractor, not an employee. You may have even signed a contract to this effect. However, your employment classification is a legal question.
There is a presumption in Illinois that you’re an employee. Uber bears the burden of defeating that presumption by satisfying the ABC test at a workers’ compensation hearing. Under the ABC test, Uber must establish certain elements: (1) you were and will continue to be free from Uber’s control or direction over performance of driving services, (2) driving is outside Uber’s usual business, and (3) you’re engaged in a separately established business, profession, occupation, or trade.Workers’ Compensation Hearings for Uber Drivers
If Uber denies your workers’ compensation claim, you’ll need to ask for a hearing in front of an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Before you ask for a hearing before the Commission, you’ll need to file an Application for Adjustment of Claim. You can put an Application on file even before benefits are denied.
Uber’s insurer may ask you to undergo an Independent Medical Exam (IME) before the hearing. The insurer may ask the doctor to look at certain specific questions related to your claim or the doctor may conduct a more general examination to figure out whether you were injured and how you are limited as a result.
At the hearing, you’ll likely need to testify about how you sustained your injuries and the limitations they present for you. You and Uber’s insurer may need to present a position on whether you’re entitled to benefits, such as vocational rehabilitation, and which ones. Both sides will submit medical evidence in the form of reports, depositions, or live testimony. The IME report may be used by the insurer at the hearing. In some cases, the IME report may contradict your treating doctor’s report. The arbitrator may need to settle this dispute, among others.
You may need to testify about how you were injured as an Uber driver and the limitations you face as a result of work-related injuries. Once an arbitrator’s decision is issued, either party can appeal it.Petition for Immediate Hearing
If you haven’t gone back to work after getting injured while driving for Uber and you are not being paid temporary disability or medical benefits, you can ask for an immediate hearing under Section 19(b). The advantage of filing a petition for immediate hearing is that it may expedite your ability to get benefits.
You can’t file for an immediate hearing if you’ve gone back to work for Uber already and it owes you under 12 weeks of temporary total disability benefits; in that situation, you need to ask for a regular hearing.Third-Party Lawsuits
At a workers’ compensation hearing, you do not need to establish fault. However, workers’ compensation benefits may not fully cover your losses arising out of a work-related injury. If you were in a car accident as an Uber driver and believe another party was at fault, a personal injury lawyer may be able to bring a third-party lawsuit against the other driver. In order to establish liability, you’ll need to show it’s more likely than not: (1) you were owed a reasonable standard of care, (2) deviation from the standard of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. Drivers deviate from the standard of care they owe to others on the road in many ways. These include speeding, driving while distracted, texting, weaving, tailgating, and failing to obey traffic signs and signals. While you may be asked about these in a workers’ compensation hearing to determine whether your injuries are work-related, another driver’s fault isn’t germane to whether you should get benefits.Hire a Seasoned Chicago Attorney
If you are concerned about workers’ compensation hearings for Uber drivers in Chicago, you should talk about your situation with the seasoned lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We represent injured Uber drivers in Quincy, Aurora, Champaign, and Rockford. We also represent Uber drivers in Kane, Cook, Winnebago, Adams, and Sangamon Counties. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.