In a relatively short time period, ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have developed into billion-dollar companies by providing the public with an alternative and convenient mode of transportation. Since most Americans have cell phones, requesting a ride can simply be done by using an app, whether you need a ride to the airport or back to your home after a night of drinking.
While Uber has approximately two million drivers worldwide, Lyft has around 700,000. Unfortunately, these ridesharing drivers experience car accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
If an Uber driver suffers an injury in a collision, is he/she eligible for workers’ compensation? After all, the injury may occur while the driver is dropping off a passenger or on his/her way to pick someone up.
The answer is not necessarily.
Uber Drivers are Independent Contractors
An independent contractor is defined as an individual or entity who provides services or goods based on a contract or verbal agreement. In other words, they are not necessarily employees for the employer they work for, so they are not eligible for benefits and don’t get their taxes withheld.
Uber considers their drivers as independent contractors since these motorists operate their own vehicles and independently provide rides to customers. This means Uber doesn’t have to offer them benefits, overtime pay, and even workers’ compensation insurance.
In Georgia, you may still attempt to file for workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia. However, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation has yet to address the issue.
Uber Offers Insurance Program for Drivers
In August 2018, Uber launched a new insurance program available for its drivers, while affirming that this is not considered workers’ compensation. Offered through Aon P.L.C. and OneBeacon Insurance Group, the program has coverage like workers’ comp benefits and covers drivers while they are logged onto the app, driving to pick up customers, and transporting them.
If an Uber driver sustains an injury while using the app, he/she would receive up to $1 million for medical expenses and up to $500 each week in accidental disability benefits under the insurance program. In the event of a death, families could receive up to $50,000 in death benefits and $150,000 in survivor benefits.
The price of the insurance coverage is 3.5 centers per mile. However, since Uber has raised its rates by five cents per mile—while the drivers keep 75 percent—the cost of the insurance could be covered by the additional income.