In Florida, as in all other states, most employers are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
There are a few exceptions that exempt certain employers from this requirement, but on the whole the majority of employers are required by law to cover their employees in the event of an on-the-job injury.
Delivery drivers are especially prone to work-related injuries due to the nature of their job.
Lifting and carrying packages can easily cause a back injury or a fall. Driving is inherently dangerous and can lead to an auto accident.
Delivery drivers also occasionally encounter unsafe conditions on an individual’s property, such as broken concrete, unsafe stairs, or a dangerous animal.
If you have been injured on the job as a delivery driver, don’t wait to speak to a lawyer about your case. A West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyer can help you get the compensation you need to recover and get back in the driver’s seat.
Employee vs. Independent Contractor
If you work as a delivery driver, it’s important to know whether you are performing work as an employee or as an independent contractor.
This classification can make a big difference if you are hurt at work and need to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.
Generally, employers in Florida are not required to provide independent contractors with workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The law sets forth a long list of factors that distinguish employees from independent contractors.
Some of the factors that indicate independent contractor status include:
- The worker is free to perform work for any entity, not just one exclusive entity
- The worker maintains his or her own separate business and work facility
- The worker has a federal employer identification number or works as a sole proprietor
- The worker receives compensation on a per-project basis or at the completion of a task
- The worker – not a supervisor or the company – is responsible for the quality of the work
The worker uses his or her own tools or materials to perform the job
This is not an exhaustive list. Moreover, it’s not always easy to tell the difference between an employee and an independent contractor.
In fact, a number of companies have landed in legal trouble for misclassifying their delivery drivers as independent contractors when they actually treated them like employees.
Lawsuits for Misclassification of Delivery Drivers as Independent Contractors
In 2015, FedEx settled a class action lawsuit involving over 2,000 claims brought by its ground drivers in California. The popular home delivery company agreed to pay $228 million to drivers for mislabeling them independent contractors.
By misclassifying its delivery drivers as independent contractors, the company was able to skip out on providing benefits, such as health care insurance and workers’ compensation coverage.
The court ruled in the drivers’ favor, even though FedEx had each driver sign an agreement saying he or she agreed to act as an independent contractor prior to driving for the company.
In the court’s opinion, the agreement was immaterial – what mattered is that FedEx treated its drivers as employees.
Online retail giant, Amazon, was also hit with a class action lawsuit claiming it misclassified its drivers as independent contractors.
According to a PC World report, the company uses many different third-party companies to deliver packages through its Prime Now delivery service.
However, the drivers work exclusively for Amazon and report to Amazon’s warehouses each morning.
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Exceptional Workers’ Compensation Representation: Delivered
Most people order a product online and don’t think twice about how it gets from the website to their front door. Delivery drivers frequently work grueling hours in all sorts of weather.
They are expected to regularly lift heavy parcels and packages. If you are a delivery driver who has been hurt on the job, you deserve to be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity.
You also deserve full compensation for your injuries. Don’t assume that you are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits just because your employer has labeled you an independent contractor.
Call a West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyer for a consultation about your case.[call_to_action]