Truck drivers, whether independent contractors or company employees, have the same skill set. The primary difference lies in the benefits and obligations that come with an employee status. Employees have greater benefits and protections in case of a truck driver injury.
Below are some key differences between independent contractors and employees:
Independent Contractor Truck Drivers
They are self-employed truck drivers who generally work under a contract with brokers or trucking companies. The truck driver is responsible for their own insurance, maintenance, taxes, and other expenses. They also have more control over their routes, schedule, clients, and equipment.
Truck Company Drivers
These drivers are actual employees of a trucking company and receive a regular paycheck. They are subject to federal and state taxes, Medicare deductions, and Social Security. They may be eligible for:
Workers’ compensation benefits
Dental and vision insurance
Paid time off
This employment status comes with some level of limitation. You have less control over your schedule, routes, clients, and equipment.
Independent contractors may, in certain circumstances, be able to rely on a trucking company for the payment of damages. This can happen if:
- “Independent drivers” prove that the company misclassified them as independent contractors instead of employees.
- They prove that the company exerted control over their work. This covers issues such as choosing routes, pick-up and delivery times, etc.
A company employee status has the following implications on injury claims:
- Injury claim when the company driver is at fault: When a truck accident occurs, truck drivers who were working within the scope of their employment are generally not held financially responsible for the damages sustained. The trucking company, on the other hand, is often held liable even if a truck driver is at fault.However, there are circumstances where an employee driver might be held financially responsible for losses resulting from a truck collision. For instance, when a company driver is caught utilizing the truck for non-work-related purposes.
- Injury claim when the company driver is injured and not at fault: In such a case, the employee driver can enjoy workers’ compensation benefits. Employees can file a workers’ compensation lawsuit against trucking companies. Although they may not be able to sue their employer for pain and suffering, it does cover the following expenses:
- Medical expenses incurred due to common injuries for truck drivers
- Disability payments
- Lost wages
Apart from pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, the injured company employee can also pursue legal action against the other driver and at-fault third parties.