Uber drivers and drivers for other rideshare apps may be able to receive compensation for work-related injuries through a process similar to workers compensation. Drivers should familiarize themselves with the insurance policy that their rideshare service uses so they know how to obtain benefits.
Uber Offers Workers Injury Protection Insurance
Uber has initiated a driver injury protection insurance program across eight states in the country, including Illinois. This program provides coverage for work-related injuries similar to workers’ compensation policies that employers purchase. Injured drivers may decide to contact a workers compensation attorney who is familiar with this program to ensure that they fill out the necessary paperwork and file the claim appropriately.
The compensation received through the worker injury protection insurance program provides for the payment of medical expenses that arise out of injuries the driver sustained during his or her work. Rideshare app drivers transport others while the app helps connect people who drive and people who need rides. Because the job involves driving for commercial purposes, coverage through traditional insurance policies is not generally available. Additionally, Uber drivers and drivers for similar companies are typically classified as independent contractors, so they are not typically eligible for insurance benefits from the company either.
As the coverage spreads to more states, additional companies that hire out this type of work are considering mirroring the program. Lyft employers have initiated research into providing more drivers insurance of this nature.
Workers’ Compensation Parallels
Workers’ compensation benefits may pay for the following expenses:
• Medical expenses for doctor visits, treatment, and medicine
• Partial, permanent and temporary disability benefits
• Vocational training when unable to return to the same job
• Death benefits when a worker has died
These benefits are mirrored in the Uber program. Through fee increases to the ride fare, drivers are able to obtain similar benefits. Driving for Uber does afford employees with liability insurance while transporting clients, awaiting the fare and driving to and from a job, but for optional work injury protections, drivers must pay an additional 3.75 cents per mile. Riders pay an additional 5 cents per mile for this program, as of May 2017. Directly mirroring compensation packages, Uber’s $1 million liability policy pays for medical expenses and compensates drivers for lost income, similarly to workers’ compensation. Previously, Uber was reluctant to offer such a program for fear of a finding of an employment relationship.