The classification of Uber and Lyft drivers as independent contractors makes it difficult for them to recover workers’ compensation following an accident. This is because many state laws only guarantee access to workers’ compensation for people who are classified as employees. An independent contractor is anyone who provides services based on a contract, which allows them more freedom when it comes to setting schedules and selecting passengers.
How Workers’ Comp Works for Rideshare Drivers
Unlike regular employees who receive certain benefits through conventional employment, rideshare drivers don’t benefit from workers’ comp insurance or other benefits such as overtime pay, PTO, sick days, or health insurance. At the same time, Uber and Lyft don’t withhold any taxes from workers’ wages.
While Uber and Lyft drivers could get into accidents like any other type of driver, the process for filing injury claims comes with certain complexities, particularly if an accident takes place while working. However, although workers’ compensation isn’t available to rideshare drivers, they may still be able to file a claim and recover compensation through other channels.
For instance, drivers involved in a work-related accident may be able to consult with a workers’ comp lawyer for a consultation and determine if they were misclassified. In some cases, drivers may actually count as employees who are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage.
For drivers who still qualify as independent contractors without insurance, an attorney may still be able to assess the accident and any damages to determine if compensation is recoverable. Sometimes another party’s negligence could cause a rideshare accident, whether it’s another driver or a passenger in the vehicle. In these cases, the injured driver may be able to recover the damages, including any injuries sustained.
Types of Compensation That Accident Victims May Recover
Workers’ compensation may not be available to rideshare drivers who qualify as independent contractors, but they may be able to file injury claims if another’s negligence resulted in the accident and subsequent damages.
For example, a driver may run a stop sign and crash into the rideshare driver’s vehicle, or a passenger’s irresponsible behavior could distract the driver momentarily and cause a crash. Some cases may even involve malicious intent that leads to injuries and other damages. Regardless of the situation, injured drivers may have the chance to file a claim or lawsuit against the responsible parties or their insurance companies.
The following are some of the types of damages for which drivers may be able to recover compensation:
- Medical expenses for treatment
- Lost wages due to time taken off from work to recover
- On-going treatment costs
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Pain and suffering
Following any type of accident and injuries, drivers should seek treatment if needed and obtain as many records as they can to document injuries and the accident. All of this documentation could help support a claim or lawsuit if the driver has a viable case against a negligent driver, passenger, or other parties.
Rideshare Drivers Have Workers’ Rights
While many rideshare drivers may not have access to workers’ compensation, they may still have the ability to recover compensation for injuries and other damages with the help of other options available to them.