THE BRONX - ? One of the new state laws that goes into effect for 2009 will give livery cab drivers who are hurt on the job better access to benefits.

Until now, drivers often found themselves wrestling with insurance companies and the worker?s compensation system. That would result in some drivers going for periods at a time without any benefits.

However, a new law signed by Gov. David Paterson sets rules to determine which drivers are considered employees and which are considered independent contractors. Paterson says the change will cut down on bureaucracy and make access to benefits more direct.

The law also creates a fund to establish worker?s compensation benefits for drivers who are considered independent contractors.

The New York State Association of Taxi Drivers has expressed its approval for the new law.