Are Uber Drivers Eligible for Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Rather than waving down a taxi cab or waiting for the bus or train to arrive, many people now rely on rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft to get around the city without driving their own vehicle. All you need to do is download an app on your cell phone, request a ride, and a driver will pick you up within minutes to take you to your destination at a reasonable fee.

Additionally, becoming an Uber or Lyft driver is quite simple. You must have a current vehicle (preferable not before the year 200), an in-state license plate, current registration, and pass certain car requirements.

But what happens when Uber drivers are involved in a car accident? Do they qualify for workers’ compensation in Illinois?

Uber Drivers are Independent Contractors—Not Employees

Unfortunately, they often do not since Uber and Lyft drivers are not considered employees. Instead, they are viewed as “independent contractors,” which is a person or business that provides services or goods based on a contractual or verbal agreement.

Rideshare companies make this argument because their drivers use their own vehicles and independently provide rides to customers based on their own schedule. Since they are not employees, Uber doesn’t have to provide overtime pay, benefits, and workers’ compensation insurance.

Driver Injury Protection

As an alternative to workers’ compensation benefits, Uber launched an insurance program in 2017 to give its drivers access to “Driver Injury Protection,” which is made possible by Aon P.L.C. and OneBeacon Insurance Group. This policy is available in 40 states and Washington D.C.

The following are the benefits of the insurance program:

  • Up to $1 million for medical expenses with no co-pay or deductible
  • Up to $750 a week for disability payments to replace lost wages
  • Up to $150,000 in survivor benefits for your family

This insurance program costs less than four cents a mile. But since Uber raised its fares five cents per mile last year, it’s practically cost neutral for veteran drivers.

If you have suffered a workplace injury in Chicago, contact Leonard Law Group at (312) 487-2513 and schedule a free consultation today.

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