I recently received an inquiry from a 13 year old student in Chicago asking me for advice on what it takes to become a lawyer.  Here’s what she said:

Hello , my name is XXX (removed to protect their name) and I’m 13 years old .Im not emailing you for a report on anything if your wondering . Like I said , I’m 13 and when I grow up i’m looking forward to becoming a lawyer . I am currently in summer break and I’m planing to do some research about the requirements to be a lawyer . I wanted to ask if you can give me some information on whats it like in becoming a lawyer . Whats it like to become a lawyer , how do you prepare for your cases , how do you prepare for your cases , questions that will lead me to the right path and let me distinguish it . Please , feel free to give me as much information as you possibly can . im sorry for bothering you at this moment I just really want to see if this is would lead me to the right path in life and if I’m really up Toit . I want to see if this job is suitable for me .  I would like for you to answer questions about three types of lawyers if possible ; Immigration , Criminal law , and family hood . Again i’m so sorry for bothering you guys , hope you have a wonderful day . Thank you for your time

I get these questions a lot and try not to give boiler plate answers just as I try to be honest when someone calls me for legal advice.  Here is what I said.

Thanks for contacting us. Honest answer is that you will change so much between now and 18 and then again between 18-22 when you are in college that there’s no way to figure out now if you really want to become a lawyer or not.  It’s a good profession and the good news is that unlike medical school, you can major in anything and still apply to law school and get accepted.  In other words, the best time to start thinking about this is when you are in college.  In addition, technology is changing the law a bit, so how we prepare for cases now, might not be the way we do it in 12 years when you can be an attorney.  I was one of the first lawyers with a website in 2001 and now almost every firm has them for example.
I have a 13 year old son, and if I was going to give him career advice, it would be learn how to code, because that seems to be the most relevant skill out there.  But I would also want you to enjoy being 13. My son has a job and thinks about the future, but I wouldn’t want him or you to be over-burdened by it right now. I hope that makes sense.
Something to file away for the future if you do think about law school, is that the good is you can do a ton with a law degree.  I recommend googling all of the accomplished people who have a law degree but don’t practice as lawyers.  President and Michelle Obama are just two such people.  The other thing I would suggest to anyone down the road is don’t get yourself boxed in to a career you can’t get out of.  Many attorneys I know are miserable but don’t know how to do anything else.  The best advice I ever heard on this is to chase your passion, not money.
With respect how you get in to law school, it’s mostly based on your grades and a standardized test called the LSAT.  But it wouldn’t surprise me if that changes between now and when you’d be ready to apply.  There is literally nothing you can do to prepare now for applying to law school beyond being a good student nor should you worry about that.  If you are thinking about anything academically it should be what college is the right fit for you and even then, I wouldn’t think about that until high school.
I wish you the best.  If you have any questions you are welcome to contact me at any time.
Yours truly,
Michael Helfand
Attorney at Law

Medicine in general is complex which makes medical malpractice lawsuits in Illinois complex as well. If you are at a stop light and get rear-ended, it’s common sense that you have a case.  But if a doctor fails to diagnose an aortic aneurysm or doesn’t find cancer in time, it’s not as clear cut that you’d have a case.

As a result, one of the most common questions we get is “Do I have a medical malpractice case?”

The answer depends on a bunch of things.  Here are ten things we look for when evaluating whether or not to take a case.

1. Is there a major, long term injury? A doctor can screw up, but if it doesn’t hurt you then there’s not a case for us.  I hear all of the time, “I could have died!” I’m sympathetic, but if you have a case where a doctor is negligent and nothing happens it’s not worth pursuing.  If it’s a death, brain damage, permanent disability, etc it’s worth looking in to.

2. Was it really negligence or just a bad result? If your loved one has a really risky surgery and dies on the operating table or if you have a knee replacement and aren’t fully recovered in six months, that doesn’t mean someone screwed up.  We’d still look in to the case, but it’s no slam dunk.

3. Was what happened to you a risk of the procedure? Getting your colon punctured in a colonoscopy is a risk of getting that done. If it happens and there isn’t more to the story, it’s not a lawsuit.

4. How long is there to file the case? There are various statutes of limitations for bringing a lawsuit in Illinois for malpractice.  It typically takes 3-6 months to properly investigate a case.  If you call us a week before the deadline to file, we wouldn’t get involved because there just isn’t enough time for us to do a proper investigation.

5. What county is the case in? The reality is that in smaller Illinois counties it’s really hard to bring a case if it’s not a slam dunk.  It’s not easy in Cook County either, but you get more of a fair shot.

6. Do we know what the ultimate recovery will be? The sooner you call a lawyer if you suspect malpractice, the better.  That said, sometimes we know there was a screw up, but we don’t know what the long term harm will be. In those cases we take a wait and see approach.

7. If there was a death, was there an autopsy?  It’s not mandatory, but in some cases you can’t prove malpractice without it.

8. What “co-morbidities” does the victim have? Sad, but true, if you are 85 years old, have diabetes, renal failure and stage 4 lung cancer, if you die due to a surgical error that case wouldn’t have much value as your life expectancy is essentially nothing.

9. Did you listen to your doctor? Let’s say you go to the doctor with pain in your side and they tell you that you are likely alright, but should return if the pain persists.  If you ignore their advice and two weeks later die of an aneurysm it’s a very defendable case.

10. How old is the victim? Another sad truth is that a doctor or hospital can sometimes be negligent in the death of a very old person and nothing happens because it would cost more to bring the case than can be recovered.  My grandmother was the greatest person ever and very active up until she passed at 97 years young.  So I get it when people tell me about their active and healthy parents and grandparents who were suddenly taken away from them.  You might have a case, but it’s not as strong as if it happened to someone much younger.

I don’t want any of this to discourage you, but I do want to paint a realistic picture of what goes in to investigating and pursuing these cases.  If you would like to talk to an attorney for free about a possible case, please call us any time at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.

We are Chicago injury attorneys who help people with accidents anywhere in Illinois.  If you would like our help or just have questions, fill out our contact form or call us at 800-517-1614.

One of the most type of accidents causing injuries in the United States is from slips, trips or falls. In fact, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), nearly 9 million people visit emergency rooms around the country for treatments from an extremely serious injury by a trip or fall accident. The term “slip and fall” is a term used for a personal injury case in which a person slips or trips and falls, and is injured on someone else’s property.

Dangerous conditions such as torn carpeting, changes in flooring, poor lightning, narrow stairs or a wet floor can cause someone to slip and hurt themselves inside a building. Other slip and fall incidents can occur when people trip on broken or cracked sidewalks, or trip and fall on stairs or escalators. In addition, a slip and fall case could arise when someone slips or trips and falls because of rain, ice, snow or a hidden hazard, such as a pothole in the ground.

Every property owner owes a duty to protect others from an unreasonable risk of harm caused by dangerous conditions on their property. Failing to do so could make them liable for any accidents and/or injuries that occur. This is known as premises liability.

However, there is an exception to the general rule of premises liability: the open and obvious doctrine. The rule states that if the hazard or condition would have been open and obvious to a reasonable person, then the landowner is not liable. The idea of this is that a person has a duty to recognize the warning signs of obvious dangers and to protect themselves from harm. In majority of these type of case scenarios, the property owner will then not be responsible for injuries.

Take for an example a recent case in which a man tripped over a knee-high sign at a Menards store in Lake County. The courts looked at every angle of this case and ruled he does not have a personal-injury claim against the home improvement chain, thanks to the open and obvious doctrine.  The sign was not hidden so the store didn’t have liability.  Compare that to a situation where leaves on the ground are covering a hole, or a dark stairway has debris on it.  In those cases the property owners would likely be responsible for any injuries from a fall on their property.

Simply because you fell on someone else’s property does not mean that anyone will be found negligent. Not only does there need to have been an unsafe condition, there also needs to be proof that there was negligence. A big question to ask is if a reasonable person with the same knowledge of the situation would have understood and avoided the hazardous condition. If not, the open and obvious doctrine will take the case.

Bottom line though is that you shouldn’t make any conclusions without talking to an attorney.  If you’d like our opinion as to whether or not you have a case you can contact us for free at any time.

A blood clot in an artery, also known as arterial thrombosis, is a serious, growing public health issue that everyone needs to be aware of. Blood clots are preventable, yet are one of the most commonly misdiagnosed affecting an estimated 900,000 Americans and ultimately resulting in nearly 100,000 deaths each year.

An Illinois man was awarded $15 million on a medical malpractice case after his lower legs were amputated when doctors failed to timely diagnose and treat his arterial blood clots.
When Corby Bell underwent blood testing at Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital in Dixon in 2015, doctors ruled out deep vein thrombosis from the venous ultrasound done. Initially, they failed to do any arterial tests. He was then simply discharged with undetermined leg pain.

Clots are classified by where they form. Venous, as you may guess, form in your veins. Arterial clots form in your arteries or the blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to the rest of the body and the heart muscle. Usually, an arterial blood clot doesn’t show symptoms until it blocks the flow of blood to part of the body. Serious problems caused by this can be a heart attack, stroke or critical limb ischaemia. In the case above, failing to have completed arterial tests forced Bell to return to the hospital the same day with pain in his lower legs and numb cold feet… a symptom of critical limb ischaemia.

These are all medical emergencies. When another failed diagnosis was given to Bell, claiming he had peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage preventing normal sensations in the arms or legs and causing pain, the hospital and staff continued to neglect Bell’s condition. Following this misdiagnosis, Bell was treated by Zeman, a physician assistant, for the following week.

It wasn’t until Bell returned to the hospital’s emergency room later in critical condition and unable to walk that the hospital finally did an arterial blood test. Arterial clots block blood and oxygen from reaching other vital organs, sometimes leading to tissue damage. This was the same results as Bell’s tests revealed blood clots from the knee down in both legs, meaning his legs were “effectively dead” as stated in the release.

It is important to understand that blood clots can happen to anyone and are often preventable. Early diagnosis is critical to prevent death. When a blood clot is misdiagnosed it can lead to a worsened condition. If not caught in the earlier stages it can cause a heart attack, stroke or even death. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a medical professional’s failure to diagnose ot treat a blood clot, you could be entitled to compensation.  Please call us any time at 312-346-5320 for a free consultation with an attorney to see if you have a case.

Why are there so many lawsuits against Illinois nursing homes?

This is a common question asked by our clients. There is no simple answer to this, but a primary factor is due to the high number of for-profit facilities putting a profit ahead of patient care.

The nursing home industry is a big business. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 15,600 nursing homes in the United States. In Illinois alone, there are more than 732 facilities caring for more than 100,000 patients.

More so, nearly 70% of these are operated as for-profit facilities. 37% of these facilities were deemed to be below average by surveyors, according to recent data by Medicare.

While there is nothing illegal about making a profit by caring for people, a conflict arises when there is an intense pressure of intense competition and desire to make a profit over the care of others.

The following cost-cutting measures by nursing home operators are putting patients at risk, impacting patient care and often causing serious injuries and death.

Reducing staffing levels:
When nursing homes are short-staffed, nurses and aides are forced to scramble when delivering patient’s meals or medications, helping bedbound residents to the restroom, notating and filing paperwork properly, and answering phones for inquiries and pain medications. Essential medical tasks such as repositioning patients to avoid bedsores and sepsis is often overlooked when nurses are overburdened, sometimes leading to avoidable hospitalizations.

Hiring inexperienced workers and failing to train them:
Unlicensed employees provide support to the ongoing care of residents. When facilities fail to meet residents needs, many facilities will combat this problem by hiring inexperienced workers and rushing them into their job roles with no proper training. All staff members must be provided with the tools and support needed to do their jobs properly and within state standards for nursing homes.

Not following industry guidelines or Illinois law:
There are several Federal and Illinois laws implemented to protect patients with skilled care and a reasonable quality of life. If a nursing home fails to abide by these standards, then it may have its license revoked. Not doing so can negatively impact a patients care.

Ignoring reports of abuse and neglect by patients:
It is estimated that at least 2.3 million seniors will become victims of nursing home abuse, yet most cases go unreported. Family members are often oblivious; victims are too afraid to come forward, or they don’t know that inadequate care is abuse under federal regulations. The American Association of Justice reported that only 1 in 14 nursing home abuse cases are reported to the proper authorities.

Not addressing issues with clients and their families:
Staff members described staff-family interactions as difficult, problematic and time consuming, but by not doing so they are not allowing for family members to become involved with in care decisions. This is important for the health and well being of patients.

When facilities choose to cut costs and practice unethically, nursing homes cannot operate safely and effectively. Patients aren’t always capable of comprehending the extent of what’s going on around them or feel unable to express it to their loved ones. It’s important for family members to be aware of any neglect, abuse or suffering and help be their voices.

We are a Chicago law firm who help people find the best attorney for their case anywhere in Illinois. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys for free, please fill out our contact form or call us at 800-517-1614.

Many of the blog posts we write are from questions that we get from readers and clients.  Some of the questions we don’t blog about, but are still worth sharing.  Here are some of the best questions we’ve received in recent months.  If you have a question fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with an Illinois attorney for free.

I am being considered for a labor job that I really want.  To help convince them to hire me, can I agree to waive my rights to workers comp if I get hurt?

By law this is not allowed and even if it was, it would be a terrible idea, especially for a laborer who is at a high risk of injury.  Fortunately, Illinois law saves you from yourself in this situation.

Do I have a right to get my medical records from my doctor?

Yes, under Illinois law you are entitled to a copy.

How long does a civil lawsuit take?

That depends on the facts of the case and whether or not you and the other party can agree to a settlement. On average it seems to be 12-18 months, but more complex cases or those with many defendants can take much longer.

I own a business.  How many people do I have to employ in order to have to have workers comp?

One. If you have any employees and don’t have workers comp insurance it’s a felony in Illinois.

How long do I have to contest a will?

The sooner the better, but in general it’s supposed to challenged in court within six months of the date that it is filed.  A failure to do that could cause you to lose your rights.

How do I know if my case will really go to trial?

Good question.  Honest answer is you never really know for sure.  Many cases seem like they are headed that way for sure only to settle at the last minute.  I can tell you that you can’t go to trial if your attorney doesn’t take all of the necessary steps required so if the case isn’t settling and seems to not be heading that way, they should absolutely proceed as if they are going to trial. Often doing that forces the other side to compromise.  Even if you start a trial, it’s not unheard of for a case to settle before it’s over.

My attorney is 80. Is that too old or should I be happy to have someone that experienced?

It probably depends on the lawyer, but I’m really suspicious in general when an attorney is working at that age and question if their heart is in it, how much vacation they take, how sharp they are, etc.

My sister died without a will, isn’t married, has no kids and told me she wants me to get everything.  My brother said that doesn’t matter.  Who is right?

Unless there are parents who are alive, verbal wishes don’t matter and the surviving siblings will split everything equally.

I caught my wife cheating on me. I confronted her and she filed for divorce.  Can I make her pay for it since it’s her fault.

Unfortunately no.  Judges don’t care who is at fault for the divorce when it comes to paying for it.  In fact, if you make a lot more than your spouse, you might have to pay for your lawyer and theirs too.

I was arrested and the charges were dismissed.  Can I sue?

Can you?  Yes.  Will you win.  That’s doubtful because the burden of proof to arrest someone is much different than that to convict someone.  So people get arrested every day of things they are innocent of and things that they are found not guilty of.  That alone doesn’t mean you have a case.  If everyone who had charges dropped could sue, we’d have no court system because it would be bankrupt.  I’m sure it sucks to have this happen to you, but it’s just the reality of how our criminal justice system works.

 

If you want to ask a lawyer a question for free, contact us any time.

We are Chicago attorneys who help people find the right law firm for their case anywhere in Illinois. If you would like our help, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with an attorney for free.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) was put in place to “serve, safeguard, and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the public by ensuring that licensure qualifications and standards for professional practice are properly evaluated, applied and enforced.”

To do this, the IDFPR governs over 100 professional licenses in Illinois imposing disciplines yearly on 3,000 licensees in the various professions and occupations it regulates.
When the IDFPR receives any source of a complaint or allegation against a licensee, the case is thoroughly investigated. After a complete evaluation of the case, the case is assigned to a prosecuting attorney in the department of the licensee. The prosecuting attorney, after review, can decide to close the case, file a formal Complaint or schedule the matter for a Disciplinary Conference.

A Disciplinary Conference is often referred to as an Informal Conference, but there is nothing informal about it. It is not mandatory, but results from an informal conference can result in very serious ramifications to your license, including censure and suspension. It is important to be properly prepared and/or represented to avoid a potentially expensive dilemma.

Howver, with proper representation, informal conferences can be an efficient and cost-effective way to resolve licensing disputes quickly and confidentially.

A Disciplinary Conference allows the opportunity for a representative of the licensee to meet on an ‘informal’ basis with a staff attorney and a board member. These conferences are confidential, and no court reporter is present. The focus during this is to resolve the matter without having the IDFPR file a formal complaint.

Because you want the case resolved without your license being affected, it’s extremely important that you have an experienced attorney in your corner at that point.  Don’t be fooled by the word “informal.”  This is all very serious business and should be taken seriously.  The longer the process plays out, the greater at risk your career is.

At the initiation of a Disciplinary Conference, the licensee will be asked a series of questions related to the complaint made against them. Following this is the time to present any pertinent information regarding the case. Customarily, the licensee and their attorney will be asked to leave while the Department attorney and board member(s) discuss the matter. Following this private discussion, all parties are welcomed back into the room to discuss next actions.

At this point the Department hasthe option to close the case completely. In some cases, the Department may issue an Administrative Warning Letter or a Letter of Concern. Neither of these letters are not reported and not kept as public record. Other cases, a settlement offer may be made.

If offered a settlement following a Disciplinary Conference, it is not an official finding of the board, no matter how it is presented by the prosecutor, and you can either accept, counter-offer or deny the offer. If accepted, a written Consent Order is drafted and presented for signature. This can take some time and it is very important that any document received relating to the settlement is carefully reviewed and is as agreed upon before consenting and signing. The Consent Order is then approved by the department board and finally by the Director of the Department’s Division of Professional Regulation for their approval. Only then can it be officially filed.

A Formal Complaint is made if the licensee rejects the settlement offer or makes no acceptable counter-offer. A Formal Complaint generally leads to a formal evidentiary hearing, which often leads to more sever actions against the licensee including larger fines, suspension or revocation of license, or other disciplinary actions.

If you have any questions about this process or need an attorney in your corner with a track record of success, contact us at any time.

All across the nation, dock-less electric scooters are available for rent in dozens of U.S. cities. This new form of transportation is not only fun, they’re cheap, convenient, earth friendly and help saves time. Yet, with all the benefits of these electric scooters there are just as many risks to them.  And now they are coming to Chicago.  Over the weekend, the City launched a pilot program that put 2,500 motorized scooters on the City streets.  The total number can go as high as 3,500.

The rise of motorized scooters also comes with much controversy. Cities everywhere are littered with scooters from Lime, Spin or Bird, causing an eyesore and a new kind of congestion to the city. More notably, is the rise of injuries.

According to recent studies, electric scooters now send more people to the hospital than bicycles or walking. Cases of broken noses, wrists and shoulders, along with facial lacerations, fractures and nerve, tendon or ligament injuries have been reported due to accidents with an electric scooter. Head trauma tops the list of severe injuries involving the use of an electric scooter
Riders are often sharing the road with fast-moving vehicular traffic, but appear to underestimate the hazards. Sure, they really can only go to a max speed of 15 mph in most cases, but speed does not correlate with lower accident risk.

Majority of the injuries were from physically riding the scooters; however, some pedestrians were injured when scooter riders crashed into them, and others tripped over scooters while simply walking.

Implementing safety fixes could take a long time. Take for example the process communities have taken for bike lanes or even sidewalks. Until we see stricter restrictions, it is important to be mindful while using electric scooters and if you haven’t been a pedestrian yet in a city where these scooters are everywhere, you are in for a surprise.

With the rise of scooters you know that lawsuits are going to follow.  The reality is that no Chicago attorney has experience with these cases because there haven’t been enough of a history yet. That said, there are plenty of lawyers in Chicago who have great experience suing dockless bike companies and ride share companies and the premise behind these lawsuits is the same.  If you are hit by a scooter, you are potentially suing the operator as well as the scooter company if you are injured.  If you are hurt while riding a scooter you may have a case against the scooter company, the person who caused the accident and potentially the City itself.

 

Bottom line is that just any old personal injury attorney wouldn’t be right for you, especially if you have a serious injury.  If you’d like to talk to one of our lawyers for free about an accident to get a recommendation to an experienced law firm who can give you the best chance of a great result, call us at 312-346-5320 any time.

For a licensed professional in Illinois, having their hard-earned professional license investigated by The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is a threat to their career, livelihood and personal life. Professional licenses can be investigated and disciplined for a variety of reasons. Federal laws, administrative regulations, new licensing board rules, statues and ordinances all regulate and control every facet of a professional practice. If you are under an investigation by the IDFPR, be careful with your behavior and actions as your license, reputation and future are at risk.

The thought of an investigation and potentially losing your professional license can be panic-inducing, but do not panic and do not get in a hurry. Remain collected through the investigation and work with your attorney immediately to dispute the complaint. During the investigation, you will still be permitted to practice in your field and continue to work with clients.

While you’re calm and collected, that doesn’t mean to put your guard down. The investigators and prosecutors are not your friends. With the guide of your attorney, protect yourself through the investigation at all times. You are entitled to seeking and asking your own questions: Which agency is conducting the investigation? Why, what and who is the investigation towards?

If you’re told that you have the right to remain silent, then do just that. Remain silent as you are clearly the subject of a criminal investigation.

Once you know more about who and what is being investigated, you have the right to decide to submit to an interview or not. By law, it is not usually required to submit to an interview. However, if opting to an interview, it is always best to have your attorneys present. During the interview, as any part of the investigative process, it is important to remain truthful and do not justify a situation. The investigators’ job is to collect evidence and information for the prosecuting attorney. Hold your explanations for a time more suited to this information, but also be aware that there will not be an opportunity to review or correct any information given in an investigators’ report. It is also important not to offer up any authorized original documents or copies without a subpoena or search warrant. Your words and actions can and will be used against you, if the investigator sees fit to.

Being investigated is not a trivial matter and can be overwhelming. Investigators have been known to be intimidating in nature often downplaying the importance of an investigation, declining information and making the interview uncomfortable. This is unreasonable for a professional and is a serious matter. You are entitled to information, professionalism and have the right to terminate an interview at any time.

Once a complaint is fully investigated the case will be either dropped or the license holder will be subjected to an informal hearing or a formal evidentiary hearing. In a typical calendar year, the IDFPR imposes discipline on 3,000+ licensees in various regulated professions, yet less than 200 are actually subjected to an evidentiary hearing. Most settlement agreements are negotiated during or as a result of an informal Disciplinary Conference.

The longer one practices, the more likely to be investigated. Stay calm and safeguard the process of your investigation with careful and precise steps with your attorney as described above.

You should not go through an investigation without a lawyer.  Very few attorneys have experience with these cases. If you want a referral to an experienced IDFPR law firm that will protect you, call us at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form.

We are Chicago attorneys who help people with legal matters throughout Illinois. If you would like our help please call us at 800-517-1614 or fill out our contact form and we will call you. All communication is free and confidential.

Workers’ Compensation laws vary by state.  Some heavily favor the insurance company and employers, others are stronger for workers. Illinois has common sense workers’ compensation laws that are very strong for workers legitimately hurt on the job.

Just like other types of employees, the threat of injury is real and pervasive for truck drivers. Truck drivers that are injured on the job, whether in an accident on the road or performing other job duties, like servicing their truck or loading and unloading, are entitled to workers’ compensation.   If you get hurt in Illinois, principally work out of Illinois or were hired out of Illinois, you can file for benefits here.  Under IL law, traveling employees are covered for most injuries even if it’s not while on the clock.

When it comes to workers’ compensation, Illinois is just better in regards in many ways. In many states, the income received from workers’ compensation is limited. Other states put a cap on the total received regardless of injury and others mandate you to use their chosen doctor and not a doctor of your choice. Some states allow nurse case managers to talk directly to your doctor or attend your appointments.  Those problems don’t exist in Illinois.

Another tricky factor when it comes to truck drivers and workers’ compensation is that many trucking companies often like to label their drivers as “independent contractors’ for various reasons. The biggest reasons are Independent contractors are responsible for their own taxes and don’t always qualify for Workman’s Compensation.

However, there are many gray areas to whether a truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor of a trucking company, and therefore whether or not qualifies for workers’ compensation when injured. These factors are applied case by case. Here are some factors courts typically look at in making a determination if someone is an employee or an Independent Contractor:

1. Is the trucking company in control of the driver’s work performance?
2. Does the driver set their own hours for work?
3. Can the driver decline certain loads or jobs?
4. Is it the company or the driver establish the given routes?
5. How is the driver paid? Weekly, hourly, mile, etc.?
6. Can the driver contract with other trucking companies?
7. Is the driver required to wear a uniform?
8. Is the driver required to adhere to company standards and/or attend safety meetings required by the company?
9. Is the driver allowed to keep the equipment on a nightly basis or is required to return the equipment?
10. How is the wording in the contracts between driver and trucking company?

The more they control you, the easier it is to show you really are an employee even if they pay you as a 1099 or you signed a document stating you don’t work for them. If you can be proven to really be an employee you can get work comp benefits.

We get that this can be confusing. If you’d like to discuss it for free with a lawyer, please contact us at any time.