One thing we hear frequently from owner-operators after they are hurt on the job is that they are denying coverage because they are “independent contractors” and therefore can’t get benefits after an on-the-job injury. Only part of that is true …
In order to get worker’s compensation benefits, there must be an employer-employee relationship. And owner-operators sign independent contractor agreements with their carrier, so on the surface it would make sense that an owner-operator cannot get worker’s compensation benefits. However, that is not always true.
The Illinois Supreme issued a ruling a number of years ago that stated that even where there is an “independent contractor” agreement between the owner-operator and the company, it would look to the substance of the relationship to decide whether the injured driver was covered by worker’s compensation. If the company exercised control over the work done by the driver and the work being done by the driver was at the heart of what the company does, then the driver could be considered an employee.
This is where having your case handled right comes in: it all depends on the proof that you provide on those two points. If you provide the right proof, you can receive thousands of dollars in disability benefits and have access to quality medical care. Fail to put in the right proof …. and you are on your own.
That is why you should be getting a well-qualified worker’s compensation lawyer to assist you with your case.
If you have a worker’ compensation case that you would like assistance with please call our office at 312-263-1080 to discuss this further. There is no charge for the call and you are not obligated to hire us if you do call.