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Workers' Compensation

Pennsylvania: Tow Truck Driver Was Employee of Towing Company

Noting that control of the work and the manner in which the work is accomplished is the key factor in the analysis of whether a particular worker is an employee or an employment relationship, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania agreed with a determination that a tow truck driver who sustained fatal injuries when he became pinned between two vehicles was an employee of the tow truck company. His dependents were, therefore, entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits. The owner of the towing company had considered the drivers as independent contractors, noting that each had signed an “independent contractor agreement.” The court pointed instead to the other evidence. For example, while working, the deceased driver wore a shirt with the company’s name clearly noted thereon. The tow trucks displayed signs with the company’s name and contact information. The drivers were not free to use the trucks to perform services for other tow companies. The trucks were owned by the company and “leased,” via an oral lease agreement, from the company. All this supported the Board’s decision that an employment relationship existed between the deceased driver and the towing company.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the co-Editor-in-Chief and Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law(LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Berkebile Towing & Recovery v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Harr), 2021 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 427 (May 10, 2021)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 63.01.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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