Courier's status as independent contractor unravels benefits petition
Case name: Alonso v. Express Service Messenger & Trucking, Inc., 17 FLWCLB 182 (Fla. JCC, Miami 2010).
Ruling: A Florida judge of compensation claims denied benefits to the claimant for injuries sustained while working as a courier, as the evidence indicated that he was an independent contractor.
What it means: In Florida, the critical factor in determining independent contractor status is the degree of control exerted by the alleged employer.
Summary: A courier for a delivery business picked up a package at an accounting firm. He delivered the package to a client of the firm and, while leaving the building and walking to his personal vehicle, he slipped and fell. The Florida Judge of Compensation Claims denied benefits, finding he was an independent contractor and not an employee of the delivery business.
The courier had complete control over the means by which the delivery was to be executed. He incurred the principal expenses related to his services and was solely responsible for the satisfactory completion of the work. He was paid on a per job basis and was not reimbursed for mileage. He was required to use his own vehicle and was paid full wages without deductions for taxes or Social Security. He paid his own car insurance and was responsible for the maintenance of his own vehicle. He used his personal phone to call in and receive calls for deliveries. He did not have any vacation days. Depending on the amount of deliveries he made in a given day or week, he could realize a profit or a loss for the work he did. The routes he took to and from his deliveries were at his sole discretion.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
February 3, 2011
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