of injured truck drivers over the last 20 plus years. I don’t have an exact number, but it’s in the thousands. I love helping them because they are salt of the earth, the injuries are always legit and most of all they get screwed over more than any other worker, so we are able to really solve problems.
One issue that comes up a lot with truck drivers is that they get illegally called independent contractors. No matter what you are called or what you agree to be in writing, if a company has control over you, you are likely an employee. And if you are an employee you get work comp benefits. Control means you only work for them, they tell you what to do, you can be fired, you can’t turn down work, etc.
It’s kind of a joke because we’ve worked with drivers who are told to present themselves to customers as working for a company and even wear a uniform, but behind the scenes, they get paid as contractors. The good news is that it’s a problem we can solve.
One tactic these shady companies seem to take a lot is opening a company, closing it, and then opening up with similar operations under a different name. If you see that happening, you know that you aren’t working for a good outfit.
Another tactic is that not only do they convince you that you are an independent contractor, but they get you to take out an occupational injury benefit policy and make you think this covers you like work comp insurance does. Sadly, it doesn’t.
Not all of these policies are completely useless. Some can pay for limited time off work and even some medical bills. But they won’t provide the same full benefits that you are entitled to under Illinois law. It’s not even close and in some cases could be hundreds of thousands of dollars less.
If you’ve received compensation under one of these policies, it does not prevent you in any way from filing an Illinois work comp case. It might change the strategy we take for you, but in the end, if you can get work comp payments it’s way better for you.
Bonus tip, even if you worked for one of these sketchy companies that closes and re-opens and/or didn’t have work comp insurance, you can still bring a case and get compensated for your injuries, including money for a settlement.