Are Delivery Drivers Eligible for Workers’ Comp Benefits?

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Are Delivery Drivers Eligible for Workers’ Comp Benefits?

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Posted By DAM Firm | May 14 2020 | Workers' Comp

More and more, our society is depending on delivery drivers for everything from appliances to groceries. As consumers have shifted their shopping behavior, delivery drivers are running into another problem – more on-the-job injuries. If you are a delivery driver, you may wonder if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This can be a complicated question to answer and will revolve around whether or not the driver is an employee of a company or an independent contractor.

What Injuries Do Delivery Drivers Sustain?

Delivery drivers can sustain a wide array of injuries while they are at work. They often work in incredibly unpredictable situations and hazardous weather conditions. They also regularly work long shifts. Some of the most common causes of injuries that delivery drivers incur include:

  • Vehicle accidents. Delivery drivers spend much of their time behind the wheel of a vehicle, so it is not surprising that many of their injuries occur in vehicle accidents, often caused by other drivers’ negligence.
  • Overexertion. Delivery drivers are often required to lift heavy loads by themselves, which can lead to serious muscle, tendon, and ligament damage. Overexertion can also cause slipped discs or other back, neck, and shoulder injuries.
  • Repetitive motions. Delivery drivers regularly perform the same motions over and over again throughout the day when they are loading and unloading packages, operating a vehicle, opening and closing doors, etc. Over time, these repetitive motions can lead to severe stress injuries.
  • Slip and fall incidents. Delivery drivers often must walk over surfaces that are not safe, including those wet from rainwater, stairs that are defective, or other hazards on someone else’s property.
  • Animal bites. California is the leading state in the nation for dog bite injuries. Unfortunately, delivery drivers encounter hostile dogs on a regular basis. Drivers can also be severely harmed due to insect stings.

Are These Injuries Covered by Workers’ Comp?

In California, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. If a delivery driver is an employee, they will be entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits regardless of who caused the incident leading to their injury. This will include coverage of their medical expenses, coverage of most of their wages, disability benefits, and death benefits to their loved ones if they die as a result of the accident.

However, if a driver is an independent contractor, as many delivery drivers in California are, then they will not have workers’ comp benefits provided by an employer. Right now, California is undergoing major changes with enforcing whether or not an employer is allowed to classify an employee as an independent contractor. Employers often do so to get away with paying certain benefits. Under Assembly Bill 5, which became law in 2020, it is now more difficult for employers to misclassify workers.

Do You Need an Attorney?

If you are a delivery driver and have been injured on the job, you may need to seek legal assistance in order to secure compensation. With new laws in California, you need to be sure what your employment classification is when you are trying to gain coverage of your medical expenses and lost wages caused by an injury. Let the team at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo look at your case today and determine the best steps moving forward. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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