Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that covers injuries suffered by employees in the course of employment while performing work duties. Workers who have accidents or suffer from occupational injuries as a direct consequence of their work conditions can apply for workers’ compensation.
Injuries are quite likely to happen for Uber drivers and other drivers who work for ride-sharing companies. Whether they are caused by a car crash, a violent client or by overexertion, injuries can leave an Uber driver dealing with expensive medical bills, lost hours of work and other damages such as non-economic ones (pain and suffering, psychological injuries, etc.).
So, Are Uber Drivers Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
The answer to this question is a complicated one, because of the way Uber and other ride-sharing companies define their drivers: not as employees, but as independent workers and collaborators. In some cases, the court that analyzes an injured driver’s case might agree that these titles represent misclassifications of the respective drivers, as their relationship with Uber is more of an employee-employer one: Uber controls the fares, the performance and other aspects of their drivers’ work.
Other judges are ruling in favor of the big companies, stating that Uber drivers are, indeed, independent contractors who are directly responsible for their damages. As you can see, the status imposed by such new companies that changed the way shared transportation works can be tricky, and it can directly impact the benefits and compensation that a driver can receive.
Uber Drivers in Missouri and Their Coverage
The same principles apply in Missouri too. The state of Missouri does protect employees in case they get hurt while on the job, and protects them by offering workers’ compensation. But when it comes to Uber drivers, they are still considered independent contractors even though many parts of their work are controlled by the company.
Here are the reasons why:
- They decide on their own schedule and working hours
- They don’t have a temporary or permanent contract with Uber
- They use their own devices for the job: car, smartphone, etc.
Even though these conditions lead to an inability to apply for workers’ compensation in the event of an accident or another type of event that leads to injuries, Uber drivers are covered by an insurance policy. As of 2016, Uber drivers are required to carry certain minimum insurance coverage that can have a superior limit of $1,000,000. This requirement comes as a solution to the fact that Uber drivers were virtually uncovered at the beginning of ride-sharing, causing many drivers to pay for medical bills out of their own pockets.
Why You Should Speak With a Lawyer
The best thing to do if you are an Uber driver and you were injured while on the job is to hire an experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer who can navigate through the complicated circumstances of your collaboration with Uber, their insurance coverage and the details of your accident.
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