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Taxi driver with leased vehicle can’t collect comp: Appeals court

Taxi driver with leased vehicle can’t collect comp: Appeals court

A taxi driver who was injured in a leased vehicle can’t collect workers compensation because he was not an employee of the cab company, an Arizona appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Kardakh Danial leased a vehicle with AAA Cab Services, a transportation business and one of three taxicab companies licensed to operate at Sky Harbor International Airport by the City of Phoenix. AAA leases taxicabs to its airport drivers under a standard one-year lease agreement that automatically renews unless terminated, according to documents in Kardakh Danial v. The Industrial Commission of Arizona, AAA Cab Services, Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America, filed in the Arizona Court of Appeals in Phoenix.

Mr. Danial was injured in May 2016 while driving airport passengers in the leased taxicab and requested workers compensation benefits from AAA's insurer, which were denied. He filed a timely protest with the Industrial Commission of Arizona, which found the injury was “non-compensable because the driver was an independent contractor of the cab company rather than an employee for workers compensation purposes,” records state.

The appellate court unanimously affirmed that ruling, citing among its reasons that “Danial's lease agreement expressly identifies him as an independent contractor and specifies that AAA will not procure workers compensation insurance. It further directs that Danial is responsible for his federal and state income taxes. Danial also ‘agree(d) to accept full responsibility for any and all injuries’ and ‘to make no claim for workmen's compensation or unemployment.’ Though not controlling, the terms of Danial's signed lease agreement only reinforce the ALJ's finding.”



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