FREE CONSULTATION (314) 361-4300

St. Louis Workers Comp Attorney – Employee vs. Owner/Operator

Some truckers may not be aware that they are not considered an “employee” under Missouri workers’ compensation law.

A truck driver may mistakenly believe that he or she is an employee of a company, because they are at the service of that company and do not work anywhere apart from that company. If a trucker suffers any work-related injury, he or she may assume eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.

Definition of Employee

According to Missouri workers’ compensation law, an employee is a “person in the service of any employer…under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, or under any appointment or election…” However, there are certain exclusions to this. “The word “employee” shall not include an individual who is the owner, … and operator of a motor vehicle which is leased or contracted with a driver to a for-hire motor carrier operating within a commercial zone…” Many truckers are not aware that they may fall under this exclusion and are not considered an “employee” under Missouri workers’ compensation law.

Employee vs Owner/Operator

Typically, if a trucker suffers any work-related injury, he or she is eligible to claim workers’ compensation for medical bills and a portion of lost earnings. However, not all injured truckers qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. A trucker must be an employee of a company to be eligible to apply for workers’ compensation. If you get injured while driving a truck for a company and want to claim workers’ compensation, you first need to prove that you are an employee of that company. It is up to the court to decide whether you are an employee or an owner/operator. The following factors may be considered.

  • Were you are a leasor of the truck you were driving at the time of the accident? Have you been paying for the lease directly from your own funds?
  • Is there an independent contractor agreement between you and the company you have been working with?
  • Have you submited a Form 1099 to the company?
  • Are you responsible for insuring the truck you operate?
  • Have you been provided workers’ compensation insurance or occupational accident insurance?
  • Do you have the option to buy the truck that you are driving now?
  • Are you solely responsible for operating the truck?
  • Do you use the truck to work for other companies?
  • Are you responsible for bearing the cost of maintaining and repairing your truck?

St. Louis Workers Compensation Attorney

The court will decide whether you are an employee or an owner/operator depending on your answers to the above questions. If you have been hurt while on the job and are confused about whether you are considered an employee, talk to a St. Louis workers compensation attorney. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.

Updated: March 5, 2017