North Carolina – Taxi Driver Was Independent Contractor

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Taxi Driver  Independent Contractor  NC Court of Appeals

Independent Contractor  status is one of  the most confusing areas in Workers Compensation over the last decade.  A recent North Carolina Court of Appeals decision actually strengthens the laws already in place.  (See NC 97.5-1).

Picture Of Yellow Taxi Independent Contractor In Road Line
StockUnlimited

There are many articles in this blog concerning contractors.   Many states have enacted laws over the last few years to make the independent contractor vs. employee classification decision easier for employers.

The IRS has published many guides on how to make the determination for tax purposes.

The case – Refik Ademovic v.  Yellow Cab of Charlotte- involved a shooting by a passenger.    The Deputy Commissioner denied benefits due to the lack of an employee-employer relationship.    The Full Commission reversed the Deputy Commissioner’s ruling and awarded benefits.

The defendants appealed the case of the Court of Appeals.  A unanimous three-justice panel reversed the Full Commission’s award of benefits as Mr.  Ademovic was ruled to have been an independent contractor.

The issue at hand was the amount of control that Yellow Cab had over the plaintiff.  Click on the link in the third paragraph to see the full text of the decision.

Yellow Cab Independent Contractor On The Road
Wikimedia Commons – Ad Meskens

Mr. Ademovic did not receive pay from Yellow Cab.  He paid the company a weekly franchise fee of $195.  The other major factor on the Appellate decision was that he was able to actually pick up passengers that hailed his cab or pick up passengers from taxi stands.   He was not required to have his customers dispatched from Yellow Cab.

From the decision-

“Defendant Taxi did not determine the number of days or the number of hours plaintiff worked, instead allowing plaintiff to determine his own work schedule.”

This passage points out the level of control that Yellow Cab had over the plaintiff.   One has to wonder if we will see this case on a NC Supreme Court docket in the future.

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James Moore

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Mgmt Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

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