Is your next driver your next headache? Are you about to hire a professional Worker’s Compensation applicant?
Recently, Transportation Attorneys helped a client, a local trucking company, deal with a “Serial Applicant”. What is a “Serial Applicant” you ask?
A “Serial Applicant”, or as I sometimes like to refer to them, a “professional applicant”, is someone who, year in and year out, injures various parts of his body, hires an applicant attorney, and files a workers compensation claim.
Astonishingly, each new year brings with it the promise of a new injury. One year it’s his leg and lower back, another year it’s his neck and shoulder, and perhaps next year he’ll develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
Despite the marginal and questionable nature of his injury claims, the “serial applicant” will have no trouble finding an attorney willing to take his claim. Why? The applicant’s attorney can easily effectuate an economic settlement and pick up some 5710 fees, which will put a few thousand dollars in the attorney’s pocket for a minimal amount of work. Furthermore, there are “high-volume” applicant attorneys who literally sign up hundreds of cases like these. Do the math and you can see why this is a lucrative business model.
So, the “Serial Applicant” and his attorney file a claim down at the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board, knowing that for a minimal amount of effort, they should be able to get several thousand dollars.
Now here’s the kicker: The “serial applicant”, in the case that I’m referring to, was actually an “owner operator”, who should be considered an independent contractor. Therefore, the trucking company/carrier should not be responsible for any work injuries suffered by the “serial applicant”. Right?
Wrong. In this case, the “Serial Applicant” was clearly misclassified as an owner-operator, and was in fact an employee driver. Therefore, the trucking company was on the hook for his “injuries.” The trucking company had no choice but to pay the “Serial Applicant” $10,000 to make the case go away.
The trucking company in this case could have saved thousands of dollars, by hiring Transportation Attorneys to do a workers compensation background check on this particular driver prior to hiring him. We would have told the trucking company that the potential driver had no less then 10 separate Worker’s Compensation claims in the last eight years. Accordingly, this “serial applicant” would never have been hired by our client, and would’ve been forced to move on down the road in search of his next victim.
Don’t let this happen to your trucking company. Transportation Attorneys is a law firm with expertise in protecting your trucking company. Call us or visit www.trucklawca.com today!