Can Uber Drivers Get Workers' Comp Benefits After an Injury?

Uber and other rideshare companies have become a popular mode of transportation in recent years. Drivers who apply and meet the requirements—including passing an inspection—can provide rides to the public with their personal vehicles according to their own schedule.

However, Uber drivers are also vulnerable to car accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. In the event of an injury, are they covered by workers’ compensation?

The answer is not quite.

Uber Drivers Are Not Employees

Uber and Lyft do not consider their drivers as employees, which has led to controversy in many instances. Instead, they are “independent contractors,” meaning they are individuals or business who provide services or goods under a contract or verbal agreement.

In general, workers’ compensation laws only cover employees. Since Uber drivers are not employees, per se, they do not receive health benefits, overtime pay, and workers’ compensation insurance.

Uber Drivers Can Enroll in an Insurance Program

The San Francisco-based company launched an insurance program in August 2018, providing its driver's access to “Driver Injury Protection” in the event of a workplace injury. Offered through Aon P.L.C. and OneBeacon Insurance Group, this type of coverage is similar to workers’ compensation, although it is actually isn’t.

Coverage begins as soon as drivers log onto the app and last when they are on their way to pick up passengers and while transporting them. The program is designed to cover medical bills and lost wages in the event of a collision.

The insurance policy covers accidental medical costs not exceeding $1 million and provides disability payments of up to $500 per week. If a driver passes away, his/her family members receive $150,000 in survivor benefits and $50,000 in death benefits.

The program was based around a usage-based pricing model. Since Uber raised its fares five cents per mile throughout the U.S., drivers could use the extra earnings to opt into the insurance program without much cost. The coverage itself costs divers 3.5 cents per mile. Uber collects 25 percent of the fares, while drivers keep 75 percent.

If you have suffered a workplace injury in New York City, contact our experienced legal team at Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP and schedule a free consultation today.