The 'On-The-Job' Injury Attorney

Does workers’ compensation cover injured rideshare drivers?

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Rideshare work can be very demanding. Drivers often have to make personal sacrifices if they want to maximize their earning potential. The times when people most want to use rideshare services and when pricing is the highest are often when drivers would prefer to be home. Weekend nights, holidays and other high-demand times can see a surge in ride requests and also better compensation.

Even those who only drive during standard business hours have to absorb some risk. Income is unpredictable at best, and passengers can be dangerous in some cases. Occasionally, rideshare drivers could even end up injured because of a car crash. Can they qualify for workers’ compensation coverage to help them pay for their lost wages and any medical care they require?

Classification can be a serious obstacle

Motor vehicle crashes are actually one of the top work safety issues in the United States. Many people who get hurt while on the clock due to a collision can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, even if driving isn’t the primary task they perform for their employers. However, rideshare drivers may have a difficult time seeking compensation.

As the name implies, workers’ compensation is a form of insurance companies provide to their workers. Specifically, benefits are available for employees, but not independent contractors. Independent contractors are self-employed professionals who provide contract work for clients. Rideshare companies classify their drivers as independent contractors. Therefore, they typically do not provide workers’ compensation coverage for those drivers.

Although some states have laws that make it easy for rideshare companies to justify classifying drivers as independent contractors, federal rules about misclassification have shifted. It is theoretically possible to make an argument that a company misclassified a worker by reviewing current state statutes, federal rules and employment arrangements.

The process of pursuing workers’ compensation as an injured rideshare driver isn’t often easy. Generally speaking, drivers need legal assistance to evaluate their situations and explore their options. Seeking workers’ compensation benefits is one way for injured rideshare drivers to cover their costs. There could be other options as well, depending on the circumstances. Getting the right support can increase the chances of succeeding during the claims process.