The question of whether Uber drivers are employees or not has been heavily debated.
Uber and other ride-sharing services such as Lyft, have taken the world by storm. For consumers, they are convenient ways to get around the city, without the hassle of needed exact change for fares or running around to get a cab.
But for drivers, Uber can be a way to either make some extra money or potentially be a full-time job. Always being on the road, however, is not without its risks, and if an Uber driver gets injured while on the job, they may be wondering if they are entitled to workers compensation.
What does the law say?
Missouri law states that if a worker gets injured while on the job, then the cost of their treatment and recovery is covered by workers compensation insurance. However, these benefits are only available to employees.
Uber drivers, unfortunately, are not considered employees but are more like independent contractors. Because they do not have employee status, Uber drivers are not covered by workers compensation laws, even if they do get injured while on ‘official Uber duty’.
Are Uber drivers not employees?
The question of whether Uber drivers are employees or not has been heavily debated, with some courts assessing that, because the company does impose a lot of rules regarding how drivers do much of their jobs, then the status of the drivers should rise to that of ‘employee’.
However, many experts believe Uber drivers cannot have this status, and it’s all in how Uber operates. For Uber drivers to be considered employees legally, some criteria must be met:
- Uber should supply drivers with tools for the job (cars, smartphones)
- Uber should establish the work schedule
- Uber should impose a type of contract, permanent/temporary
Uber drivers go to work using their personal vehicles, decide how many hours per day they get to work, and have no employment contract with the company. As such, under the law, Uber drivers are more closely related to independent contractors than to employees.
Because of this status, Uber is not legally required to offer their drivers workers compensation benefits, and if a driver gets injured, they most likely have to pay for their treatment out of their own pocket.
However, Uber does insure their drivers. If an accident occurs, the Uber driver may cover their medical costs through Uber’s insurance policy. But, if the injury isn’t a result of the accident, then the coverage does not apply.
What Can You Do if You’ve Been Injured on the Job?
Even if Uber does not consider you an employee, it doesn’t automatically mean you have to pay the cost of your treatment out of pocket. Contact a St.Louis workers compensation lawyer to see if your status has been misclassified, and are in fact entitled to workers comp.