Work-related injuries are very common among truck drivers, including back injuries and shoulder injuries. Typically, when a worker is injured on the job, workers' compensation will help cover medical expenses relating to the injury as well as income that is lost because of the injury.
However, all too often, truck drivers are cheated out of the workers' comp benefits that they deserved by being called "independent contractors" instead of employees. Under state law, employers are only required to provide benefits like workers' compensation and unemployment to employees and not independent contractors.
The good news is that even if your employer says you are an independent contractor, you might still actually be an employee and entitled to benefits after being injured while working. Your employer does not make this determination, the law does.
Whether you are an independent contractor or an employee depends a lot on how much control your employer has over your work from day-to-day. The more control the employer has over your workday, the greater the likelihood that you are actually an employee.
What to do if you have been misclassified by your employer
If you think you have been classified as an independent contractor when you are actually an employee, a lawyer can help you fight for the benefits that you deserve.
Additionally, the NC Industrial Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor recently signed an agreement that makes it easier for workers to report when they have been misclassified so that an investigation can take place and guilty employers are held accountable.
Workers can file a complaint with the Employee Classification Section of the NC Industrial Commission, which has created to fight employee misclassification in the state. Complaints can even be submitted anonymously.