Workers' Compensation

Federal: District Court Finds Firm’s Truck Drivers Are Employees, Not Independent Contractors

A federal district court held that a trucking company’s drivers were employees, rather than independent contractors where, among other things, none of the drivers maintained a separate trucking business, none held himself out to the public as a trucking business, or qualified as an employer under Michigan’s Worker's Disability Compensation Act.  The court noted as well that all the trucks at issue were registered in the trucking company’s name, that the trucking company provided liability and physical damage insurance coverage and advanced fuel and repair payments to the drivers, eventually charging costs back to the drivers. In short, the drivers had the means necessary to perform the services for the trucking company only because the company provided these things up front, even if the costs were ultimately charged back to the drivers. While the drivers may have had the theoretical permission to work for other carriers, they in fact work exclusively -- or almost exclusively -- for the trucking company.  Based on these findings, the court also concluded that the trucking company owed its workers’ compensation carrier more than $100,000 in unpaid premiums.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

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See Max Trucking, LLC v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Corp., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104509 (W.D. Mich., July 31, 2014) [2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104509 (W.D. Mich., July 31, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 63.01 [63.01]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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