In recent years, millions of people all over the world rely on rideshare
companies such as Uber and Lyft as an alternative mode of transportation
compared to taxi services and public transit. Ordinary citizens—whether
working full-time or part-time can apply to be drivers and work on their
own schedule at a reasonable rate including tips.
However, rideshare drivers can suffer serious and life-threatening injuries
caused by car accidents while they’re logged on and providing rides.
When Texas employees suffer injuries while performing job duties, they
are entitled to workers’ compensation to cover their medical bills
and lost wages.
But do Uber drivers receive workers’ compensation benefits as well?
Well, technically no.
Employees vs. Independent Contractors
In general, Texas workers’ compensation laws only provide benefits
for employees. Additionally, employees also receive healthcare, overtime
pay, and retirement benefits.
However, Uber considers its drivers as “independent contractors.”
An independent contractor is a person or entity who provides goods and
services under a contract or another form of agreement.
Uber drivers are able to drive using their own vehicles and give rides
to customers according to their own schedule. Laws which govern employer/employee
matters do not apply to these workers, means fewer benefits compared to
Uber Driver Insurance Program
In August 2018, Uber introduced a new insurance program which covers medical
costs and lost earnings associated with an on-the-job car accident. Known
as “Driver Injury Protection,” it is offered through Aon P.L.C.
and OneBeacon Insurance Group.
While the company does not view this coverage as workers’ compensation,
the program acts in the same manner. When an Uber driver is logged on
and accepting rides or transporting passengers, Driver Injury Protection
covers up to $1 million in medical bills and up to $500 per week for lost
wages. If an Uber driver dies, his/her family will receive up to $150,000
in survivor benefits.
Although the coverage costs 3.5 cents per mile, Uber recently increased
its fares by 5 cents per mile. Since the company keeps about 25 percent
of the fares collected, drivers will earn an extra 3.75 cents per mile,
which essentially covers the costs of the insurance program.
Driver Injury Protection is currently offered in 40 states.
If you have suffered a
workplace injury in Fort Worth, TX,
contact our experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at the
Law Office of James M. Stanley and request a free consultation today.