According to the Drum Major Institute (DMI), 160,000 New Yorkers work as truck drivers. In the trucking industry, there are two types of drivers:
- Truck Drivers that are employed directly by a trucking company
- Independent contractors who are hired to ship goods by a trucking company.
In New York, independent trucking contractors are typically barred from filing for NY workers compensation for on the job injuries or truck accidents unless the trucking contractor can prove a distinct employer-employee relationship with the alleged employer.
Earlier this year, however, New York’s state senate delved into employment rights in the commercial goods and transportation sectors through the recently-enacted Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act. DMI’s recent study into New York truck drivers revealed that 18% of all New York truck drivers, or 29,500 drivers total, are misclassified by employers as independent contractors. By doing this, employers have deprived these drivers from not only the protections of employees on payroll, but also are denied rights that an independent contractor would typically enjoy, such as access to NY workers compensation.
The New York Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act is designed to correct this activity by redefining the definitions of “employee” and “independent contractor” in the trucking industry. The bill has been met by various groups with both positive and negative feedback. Organizations such as the New York State AFL-CIO supported the bill as a way of encoring “strong and vigilant action…to ensure that…workers are not being misclassified,” while other groups such as The Business Council of New York State claimed that the bill would “discourage thousands of…small business owners from conducting business” in the state. Nevertheless, the New York State Senate passed the New York Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act into law in June 2013, creating a new employment classification code involving complex legal issues. If you are a truck driver who was involved in a truck accident, and need legal assistance to see if you qualify for NY workers’ compensation under this recently-approved act, the experienced NYC truck accident attorneys of the Ashley Law Firm can help.
How Truck Drivers Can Be Recognized as Employees For NY Workers’ Compensation
The New York Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act sets various guidelines for when a trucking contractor can be considered an employee. First, the act sets some stipulations for defining an independent NY trucking contractor. Under § 862-B(1)(a-c) of the New York Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act, a truck driver is considered an independent contractor if he or she meets the following conditions:
- The individual is free from control and direction in performing the job, both under his or her contract and in fact;
- The service must be performed outside the usual course of business for which the service is performed; and
- The individual is customarily engaged in an independently-established trade, occupation, profession, or business that is similar to the service at issue.
Similarly, the act states that a business entity that engages in independent contract work for trucking companies—and that could be defined as a commercial goods transportation contractor under the act—will be considered a separate business entity provided that it meets 11 specific stipulations, which can be viewed here at § 862-B(2)(a-k) of the act. If an individual or contracting company does not meet the explicit exception requirements of the act regarding classifying truck drivers as independent contractors or separate business entities, then that individual or entity could be classified as an employee of the hiring trucking company, and therefore eligible to file claims under NY workers’ compensation for any truck accidents or other on the job injuries that are attributable to the employer.
How Our NYC Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
The New York Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act has numerous important consequences for determining whether New York truck drivers are entitled to NY workers’ compensation, but many truck accident cases and NY workers’ compensation cases involve complex legal issues that require the assistance of a NYC truck accident lawyer. While state courts defer to applicable state statutes in determining the outcome of a case, vague statutory language and the circumstances of the case can inevitably lead to differing opinions on the applicability or meaning of NY workers’ compensation standards relating to truck drivers and NY truck accidents. That’s where The Ashley Firm’s NYC truck accident lawyers can come in to help. Our NYC truck accident lawyers are well-versed in NY truck accident cases and standards, and will help advise you on your truck accident claim and determine the best legal strategy for you to achieve quick and just resolution to your situation.
Whether you need help determining whether you qualify as an employed truck driver under the New York Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act, or require assistance in determining whether your truck employer is liable given the circumstances of your case, The Ashley Law Firm’s NYC truck accident lawyers are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to meet with one our experienced and compassionate NYC truck accident lawyers.