Uber drivers fill a unique niche in American society but determining whether or not drivers get workers' compensation benefits has been difficult. Depending on the state, drivers may be considered independent contractors or employees. A worker compensation attorney in Crystal Lake can answer questions about a potential claim.
The Rise of the Gig EconomyAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a gig economy refers to project or task that a worker is hired for on demand. Workers are often hired through digital marketplaces. Uber and its competitor Lyft are considered part of the gig economy.
The type of on-demand economy is relatively new. Recent technologies have made services like Uber possible. However, new services don't always fit perfectly into the existing world of laws and regulations. Determining whether an Uber driver is an independent contractor or an employee has proven to be difficult.
Employees are entitled under the law to receive certain protections and benefits, including workers' comp. Independent contractors are not afforded the same protections. Any Uber driver injured while working should consult a worker compensation attorney in Crystal Lake.
Uber Maintains Drivers are Independent Contractors
Uber has asserted that drivers are independent contractors from its creation. Drivers can work when they want and how much they want. Uber maintains that since they do not control drivers, workers should be considered independent contractors.
Uber drivers face the risk of injuries while on the clock. In response, drivers are pushing back against Uber's claims and seeking rights as employees. Unfortunately, driver status is currently dependent on location.
Some States Offer More Protections Than Others
Uber pulled services from Alaska in 2015 after facing an investigation of their classification of drivers as contractors. A bill was introduced that exempted Uber drivers and their counterparts from being included in the definition of an employee. Once again, drivers would be left without workers' compensation coverage.
Some states, however, like New York, require Uber riders to contribute to the Black Car Fund. This Fund provides workers' compensation benefits to companies that participate. The New York Department of Labor declared that Uber drivers and other rideshare drivers were considered employees in late 2016.
In Illinois, the House and Senate passed a bill for Uber. In the current political climate, drivers might not receive benefits. However, a worker compensation attorney in Crystal Lake can support a driver after an accident and provide answers regarding benefits and Uber.