With smart phone technology and start-ups popping up everywhere catering to price-conscious app watchers, we are increasingly familiar with applications like Uber, the taxi company that you can hail from literally anywhere and Lyft, a similar application. Nonsense words like TaskRabbit, Homejoy, and Instacart increasingly imply convenient, price-friendly services for busy people in need of, say, a reliable cleaning person or a personal shopper. An important new question emerging is that of the rights of those who physically work for these companies. What happens when they’re injured on the job? Are they entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits?
Last month Omar, an Uber driver, was working a typical shift in Los Angeles when his passengers changed his life forever. When he pulled up to the destination, two of the passengers refused to leave his black SUV. Omar says one of the passengers hit him, broke his jaw in two places, and he was left in the hospital for weeks. Omar isn’t alone in his experience. On Sunday, a police officer physically attacked his Uber driver and stole the man’s car. An Uber driver in Los Angeles was choked on New Year’s Day and in November, a passenger in San Francisco attacked his Uber driver, sending the driver to the hospital with facial injuries.
Unfortunately for Omar and his peers, they cannot, technically, turn to the platforms for help. As much as we would think the companies are at least in part responsible for placing their workers at risk, technically, drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft are considered independent contractors. Companies aren’t under the same obligations toward independent contractors as they are toward regular employees. Benefits such as health care, overtime, and even workers’ compensation are much more minimal and in some cases, don’t exist at all.
Omar had to have surgery and suffered permanent damage to his teeth, not to mention a lengthy hospital stay. He thinks his company should bear some of the financial burden because he was injured on the job. Unfortunately for people like Omar, the companies they work for don’t seem to agree.
Workers’ Compensation can be difficult, confusing, and very complex. It’s important to contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney who can help you get compensation for your injury or illness. has helped thousands of injured workers since 1997 get the benefits they deserve. Contact our Denver or Greeley Workers’ Compensation Attorneys or call us at303-780-7329 for your free consultation.