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When a Contractor is Actually an Employee, What Happens if He’s Injured at Work?

Recently, California’s Labor Commission ruled that an Uber driver was an employee rather than a contractor, a decision that could have a widespread impact on workers compensation law.

Uber, the ride-sharing company, argues that drivers set their own schedules and determine which riders they will pick up, so they are not employees. However, the commission determined that because Uber is involved in all aspects of the operation, including vetting its drivers, setting standards for them, and establishing rates for riders, they were more than just a platform for contractors.

Uber has moved to appeal the case, saying, “It’s important to remember that the number one reason drivers choose to use Uber is because they have complete flexibility and control. The majority of them can and do choose to earn their living from multiple sources, including other ride sharing companies.”

Uber also dealt with Florida’s unemployment agency ruling that drivers are employees, and federal judges in San Francisco have ordered trials in cases against ride-sharing companies that will soon be tackling the same issue.

If you ask a workers compensation attorney about these cases they may tell you that it could set a new precedent for those injured at work. Employees are covered under workers compensation law, and if this ruling is upheld, more people will be considered employees rather than contractors.

This isn’t just important for people injured at work – if you were a contractor but are now an employee, your company could be liable for things like health care benefits and payroll taxes.

If you work in a setting where you are considered a contractor, but feel as if you may be more like an employee based on this information, you may want to talk to a workers compensation attorney about what would happen if you get injured at work. Workers compensation law exists to protect employees, and you may fall under that protection even if your company does not agree.

A workers compensation attorney will be happy to discuss your options with you if you are injured at work, no matter your employment status. Do not hesitate to contact a lawyer to discuss workers compensation law, if you find yourself injured or disabled. It’s in your best interests to try to qualify for disability benefits!  Our State Bar of Arizona Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation may be able to help you.

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