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Workers’ Compensation For Commercial Drivers

In California, any employer with one or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.  Commercial driving is no exception.  If you are a taxi or limo driver, a long-haul trucker, or any other type of commercial driver, you are entitled to workers’ compensation protection through your employer.  If you get into a car accident while on the job, you are guaranteed workers’ compensation protections–even if you accidentally caused the crash yourself.

The California commercial driver workers’ compensation attorneys at Invictus Law, P.C., help workers across all industries get the medical care and wage loss benefits they are owed under California Law.  We represent truckers, taxi drivers, limo drivers, and other commercial drivers injured on the job in Orange County and the Inland Empire.  We fight for your right to the compensation you and your family are owed after a Southern California commercial driving accident.

Workers’ Comp Benefits for Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers injured on the job in California are entitled to workers’ compensation so long as they have an employer.  Sole proprietors who drive for themselves are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Assuming you work for a company, California law requires your employer to carry a minimum level of workers’ comp insurance.  After an accident or other on-the-job injury, you are entitled to benefits including:

  • Compensation for your medical care
  • A portion of your lost income due to missed work
  • Permanent disability payments if you do not recover completely
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits to help you secure alternate employment
  • Death benefits for the spouse, children, and other dependents of a deceased worker

Exclusions from Workers’ Comp Protections

Commercial drivers, like any other employee in California, are guaranteed workers’ compensation insurance coverage provided by their employers.  There are, however, certain exceptions to workers’ compensation coverage.  Workers’ comp is only available for work-related injuries, and even if an injury occurs at work, an exception may apply.

Workers’ comp claims for commercial drivers may be rejected, for example, when:

  • The driver gets into an accident while off the clock
  • The driver is intoxicated while driving and causes a crash
  • The driver intentionally caused the crash
  • The driver flagrantly violated a safety law or regulation, such as by driving on the shoulder
  • The driver fails to report the claim within the statute of limitations

Rideshare Drivers and the “Independent Contractor” Debate

If you drive for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft, you are not currently guaranteed workers’ compensation protection.  Rideshare drivers have been classified as “independent contractors” rather than “employees,” and are thus exempt from workers’ compensation protections.  There is, however, a battle being fought in California courts and on the California ballot over whether rideshare drivers should be labeled employees rather than independent contractors.

Most recently, an appeals court has indeed ruled that Uber and Lyft must classify their drivers as employees rather than independent contractors under California law.  That ruling, however, has yet to go into effect, and it is likely to be appealed to the California Supreme Court.  Moreover, Proposition 22 is currently on the California ballot, to be resolved in the election this November.  If Prop 22 passes, Uber and Lyft drivers will be classified as independent contractors, with certain additional benefits guaranteed.  If Prop 22 is rejected by California voters, then drivers’ status will be ultimately resolved by the ongoing court battle.

Uber and Lyft are not unique in labeling drivers as “independent contractors,” although they are dealing with a specific legal battle concerning rideshare classifications.  Some freight companies and other transport vendors will try to label drivers as independent contractors, even where California law has already declared that they should be considered employees.  The California Supreme Court has issued rulings protecting truck drivers, for example, from unscrupulous freight companies trying to avoid paying for workers’ comp protections.  If your employer tries to deny coverage by labeling you as an independent contractor, contact a dedicated California workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to preserve your right to push back.  You may be entitled to benefits and legal protections just like any other worker in California.

Our California Workers’ Compensation Attorney Will Fight For Your Rights After A Commercial Driving Accident

After a commercial driving injury in Orange County or the Inland Empire, call Invictus Law, P.C., at our offices in Orange or Ontario at 949-287-5711 or 888-9WORKLAW.  Reach out for a free consultation with a seasoned and professional California workers’ compensation attorney. You’ll only pay a fee if we recover benefits for you.

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