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How Independent Contractors Can Receive Workers' Compensation BenefitsAn independent contractor and a business agree on a work contract because there are advantages for both sides. One advantage for the business is that it is likely not liable if the contractor is injured while working. Businesses will deny workers' compensation claims by independent contractors because contractors are not protected employees. However, some Illinois courts have allowed truck drivers working as independent contractors to receive workers' compensation benefits. Judges will scrutinize a driver's work arrangement with the business to determine whether he or she is effectively an employee.

Truck Owner-Operators

Truck owner-operators use their own trucks to transport freight for a business or organization. A business may hire a truck owner-operator as an employee or contract one as an independent driver. Truck owner-operators are generally considered independent contractors if they:

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McHenry County Workers' Compensation LawyerIllinois law requires all employers to carry workers' compensation insurance for employees in case they are injured while on the job. However, that liability often does not extend to injuries that happen at company-sponsored recreational events, such as picnics and sports leagues.

A shoulder injury from throwing a softball too hard at the company picnic or a torn ACL while playing for the company basketball team may lead to several doctor visits. Sometimes these events happen during company hours, but that does not mean you will be covered by workers' compensation. Illinois' Workers' Compensation Act and state court decisions say a company's liability is determined by whether the activity is considered voluntary, regardless of whether the employee is being paid while attending the event.

Illinois courts have often ruled against employee compensation for injuries that occur at voluntary events. However, there is a precedent for plaintiffs being awarded compensation. Success relies on a couple of factors:

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workers compensation bill, Crystal Lake workers comp attorneysWorkers' compensation in Illinois may be undergoing drastic changes that make collecting it more difficult, following the election of Governor Rauner. One of the most important features of any workers' compensation system is known as the “causation standard.” In order to collect workers' compensation, an injured employee must show that the injury arose out of their employment. The causation standard is the standard the courts apply for determining whether an injury actually arose out of the employment or whether it was caused by some other factor completely separate from the person's job.

A new senate bill, SB 846, would affect the workers' compensation in a variety of ways, but one of the most important is that it would raise the causation standard. The bill would institute something known as “primary causation.” That standard would make it more difficult for people to collect workers' compensation because it would require injured workers' to prove that the primary cause of their injury was their employment.

Causation in Workers' Compensation

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Illinois workers' compensation, McHenry County workers' compensation attorney, workers' compensation, workers' compensation statute, workers' compensation law, work injury claim, seek medical treatment, wrongful terminationWorkers' compensation statutes can be complicated, and companies often attempt to layer extra policies on top of them, making them even harder to understand. However, a recent federal court case in Illinois expanded the rights of workers seeking treatment for on-the-job injuries. The case relates to policies that corporations can put in place to govern how their workers receive medical treatment. The court ruled that a company may not require employees to notify a company before seeking medical treatment for an injury. While this case may yet be appealed, it could have important implications for workers looking to collect workers' compensation.

The Facts

The case relates to a package handler working for FedEx in 2011. The employee began complaining of a sore back, and therefore informed his supervisors. The company placed him on light duty work for a few days while he could recuperate. Close to a week after the initial report he sought medical treatment for his continuing pain. The physician's assistant who examined him cleared him to continue working. However, the physician's assistant also issued him a note instructing his employer to keep him on light duty until a proper physical examination could be performed.

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