What Are the Implications of Trucker Injury Claims for an Independent Contractor or Employee?

Correlation Between an Injury Claim and Different Kinds of Truck Drivers


Are you a truck driver who has suffered trucking injuries while on the job? You may be eligible for compensation. You can get compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. However, the amount you get and its source depends on whether you are an independent contractor or working for a trucking company.

If you’ve been involved in a truck crash, book a free consultation with our experienced truck accident attorneys at Hurt Trucker Attorneys. We can help you understand a truck driver’s personal injury claims process and represent the case on your behalf.


How Do Independent Contractor Truck Drivers Differ From Company Employees?

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

  • Health insurance

  • 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.

How Does the Classification of Truck Drivers Impact Injury Claims?

The classification of a truck driver as an employee or independent contractor has significant implications on injury claims they make after a trucking accident.


Independent Contractors

An independent contractor status has the following implications on injury claims:

  1. Injury claim when the independent contractor is at fault: In such a scenario, the independent driver is not covered by the policies of a trucking company. A personal injury claim filed by the aggrieved party may be settled using the independent contractor’s insurance and assets. The value of these assets is generally much lesser than those of a sizable trucking firm.
  2. Injury claim when the independent contractor is injured and not at fault: In such cases, an independent contractor is not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This means they cannot turn to a trucking company to pay their medical bills or other associated costs. They can instead file a personal injury claim against the truck driver and other at-fault third parties held responsible in their truck accident case.

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.


Company Employees

A company employee status has the following implications on injury claims:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

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.

How Can You Determine Your Truck Driver Status?

There is no clear-cut formula to determine whether truck drivers can be categorized as independent contractors or employees. It depends on several factors that show the extent of a broker or trucking company’s control over the driver’s work.

These factors include:

  • The degree of control the trucking company has over the job. This includes their schedules, clients, routes, and equipment.

  • The trucking company’s degree of supervision over the driver’s actions.

  • The level of independence enjoyed by the truck driver. This includes matters revolving around the fees charged, profits made, and expenses incurred.

  • How permanent the relationship is between the driver and the company.

  • The role and function of the truck driver within the company.

You can’t determine whether you are a company worker or an independent contractor by a single factor. The courts usually look at the situation holistically. They then weigh the factors based on their relevance and importance.

The driver’s contract or agreement is not always conclusive. Therefore, it’s normal to be unsure about your status. In such a case, consider consulting an experienced truck accident attorney.

What if Your Employer Misclassified You as an Independent Contractor?

Some trucking companies misclassify their workers as independent contractors to avoid responsibility. Such responsibilities include paying taxes, insurance premiums, and other costs. It is illegal and may lead to fines and other penalties for employers.

Misclassification also has a lasting impact on truck drivers. It may deprive you of your benefits in case of a trucking accident. If you believe your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor, seek reclassification. In such cases, drivers can pursue legal action against their employer or file a complaint with the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR). Consider discussing the facts of your case with an attorney to develop a suitable legal strategy.


Contact Hurt Trucker Attorneys Today!

Whether you are an independent truck driver or a company employee, a truck accident attorney from Hurt Trucker Attorneys can help you claim compensation. Our legal team investigates the cause of an accident and identifies parties to be held accountable. We then gather evidence and pursue appropriate legal action against your insurance company, employer, or an at-fault third party for fair compensation.

Reach out to us to book your free consultation today!