Yes, Uber & Lyft Drivers Are Eligible For Workers’ Compensation

Do you have a workers’ compensation case or claim naming Uber or Lyft? Pond Lehocky Giordano is actively taking cases and referrals against rideshare companies. For years, Uber, Lyft, and other gig-based rideshare and delivery companies have made headlines due to their refusal to provide basic benefits and protections to their drivers. Now is the time to hold these companies accountable.

If you or a loved one has been denied workers’ compensation benefits after driving for Uber or Lyft, you deserve justice and compensation. Our experienced team of workers’ compensation lawyers is dedicated to ensuring that you have the maximum restitution possible for your pain, suffering, and medical bills. With over 250 years of combined courtroom experience and a track record of over 100,000 successful cases, the experienced lawyers at Pond Lehocky Giordano are more than qualified to represent you in court.

To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our workers’ compensation experts, call 1-800-568-7500 or fill out our contact form today.

To refer a workers’ compensation case to our firm, join our lawyer referral network.

How can Uber and Lyft deny workers’ compensation benefits?

Uber was founded as a start-up in San Francisco in 2010. Since then, it has become ubiquitous around the world, disrupting existing travel infrastructure and unseating taxicabs as the most convenient and popular form of on-demand transportation. According to its own metrics, it has over 131 million monthly active users. Uber employs about 6 million active drivers, more than 1 million of whom reside in the United States. Lyft, a similar rideshare company that only serves the U.S. and Canada, claims to have 2 million drivers.

While the market appears to have spoken – rideshare companies are here to stay – much of their meteoric growth may be attributed to their exploitative driver contracts, among other offenses. According to a series of articles in the Washington Post, Uber has taken great lengths to avoid accountability, skirt regulations, and abuse its workers. Similar allegations have been leveled against Lyft.

In short, by classifying their drivers as independent contractors, companies like Uber and Lyft have historically been able to avoid providing basics like workers’ compensation insurance, medical benefits, paid sick time, and a minimum wage. However, years of legal challenges have shifted the balance in favor of the drivers: it’s clear that they want to be – and should be – classified as employees.

Do workers’ compensation laws cover Uber and Lyft drivers?

Recent lawsuits have established that rideshare drivers should be classified as employees, providing Uber and Lyft drivers with rights under state workers’ compensation laws. In some jurisdictions, courts have also ruled that their arbitration agreements are unenforceable.

In 2022, Uber was forced to pay over $100 million in a driver misclassification case in the state of New Jersey – a massive win for its drivers. Just this year, the state of Washington passed legislation ensuring that these drivers have access to unemployment insurance and paid family leave at the company’s expense – expanding legislation from 2022 that gave them higher pay rates, workers’ compensation insurance, and paid sick time.

Although Uber and Lyft won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, it is getting harder and harder for them to deny their workers the benefits and protections they deserve.

How can workers’ compensation benefit Uber drivers?

Although every state has its own workers’ compensation laws, they all work in similar ways. Most states require employers to buy workers’ compensation insurance. Typically, when an employee is injured on the job such that they are unable to work at the same capacity, their company’s insurance helps compensate them for their suffering, inability to earn wages, and medical bills. Workers’ compensation can help cover a wide range of medical costs, including:

  • Medical and diagnostic tests
  • Outpatient services
  • EMS or ambulance treatment and transport
  • Hospitalization costs
  • Surgeries
  • Emergency room bills
  • In-home care
  • Prescription medications
  • Assistive medical equipment, such as wheelchairs or crutches
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Mileage reimbursement for medical travel
  • Funeral expenses

Drivers for Uber and Lyft are aware that their work comes with some unique occupational hazards. In 2021, online publication The Markup published the results of an independent investigation that showed that Lyft and Uber drivers are especially vulnerable to carjacking – which can often lead to injury (or worse). Employees tasked with driving for long hours every day are often also prone to repetitive strain injuries in their hands, wrists, shoulders, and elbows. When any kind of work-related injury impedes an employees’ ability to earn their wages, workers’ compensation is there to help.

Frequently Asked Questions about Uber and Workers’ Compensation

Is workers’ compensation insurance the same as driver injury protection insurance?

Uber offers several insurance options on their website. Besides auto insurance – which does work differently for most insurers if you are using a vehicle for ridesharing – Uber offers Optional Injury Protection insurance. This insurance is intended to work similarly to workers’ compensation. If a driver has opted into this optional program (by paying a certain amount of money per mile they travel while on the job), they can potentially receive disability payments, compensation for medical expenses, and survivor benefits in the worst case scenario.

However, this program has several key differences from true workers’ compensation:

  1. Employers pay into workers’ compensation insurance, not the employees.
  2. According to the Intercept, Uber’s policy maxes out at half the driver’s average weekly earnings – many states have higher wage replacement rates.
  3. The doctors under Uber’s policy have the right to deny coverage at their discretion. With true workers’ compensation, the state’s workers’ compensation board typically makes final decisions about coverage.
  4. If you’d like to dispute anything about your treatment or coverage as an Uber driver, you cannot appeal to a workers’ comp board. Instead, you have to pursue binding arbitration, which can be more costly and restricts a drivers’ legal options.

Long story short, Uber’s Optional Injury Protection insurance is a poor imitation of workers’ compensation.

Can I drive for Uber while on workers’ compensation?

Driving for Uber while on workers’ compensation can be risky. In some states, if the job is not considered full-time or permanent, you may be able to perform it while maintaining your workers’ compensation benefits. However, you run the risk of your employer’s insurance company claiming that this proves you are actually healthy enough to perform your former job, which could jeopardize your benefits. Either way, you will need to report your wages, which will typically be deducted in full from your workers’ compensation payments.

If you are adamant about working a side job while earning workers’ compensation, we highly recommend consulting a workers’ compensation lawyer so that you do not jeopardize your benefits.

Are Uber or Lyft drivers considered employees?

In many states, Uber and Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees. However, within the past few years, lawsuits have asserted that Uber and Lyft drivers must be considered employees in states like California, New York, and New Jersey. If you are unsure if Uber or Lyft drivers are considered employees in your state and believe that you may have a workers’ compensation claim, call Pond Lehocky Giordano at 800-568-7500 for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.

Connect with Pond Lehocky’s workers’ compensation experts today.

To help maximize your chances of recovering damages for the suffering you have experienced due to your work-related injury while driving for Uber, it’s critical to have an expert workers’ compensation legal team involved. Our workers’ compensation lawyers manage lawsuits in all 50 states. We offer free consultations with our attorneys so that we can help you better understand your legal options and the strength of your case. For more information, call Pond Lehocky Giordano LLP at 1-800-568-7500 or fill out our contact form today. You deserve a workers’ compensation law firm that can truly champion your rights.

Alternatively, if you are an attorney looking to refer your workers’ compensation case against Uber or Lyft, join our lawyer referral network.

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