Uber drivers continue push for workers' compensation benefits

The innovative ride-sharing service Uber has pushed the boundaries of technology since the day it was founded. Its presence across the country has changed the way taxi companies and courier services do business at the customer level.

As Uber changes the way riders receive services, it could also change the employment status of drivers nationwide. An ongoing workers' compensation case in New York challenges Uber's classification of its drivers as independent contractors. The case stems from an incident in which the driver, who is also the plaintiff in the claim, fractured his finger while on the job with Uber.

The driver did not carry health insurance coverage for himself nor did Uber respond to his report after the injury occurred. Uber offered the injured driver a $32,000 settlement on the grounds that he terminate his contract with the company.

However, the driver did not accept the offer and is continuing his legal battle. He hopes to help other drivers earn employee status with the company and show that Uber discriminated against him by demanding termination in exchange for a settlement.

Businesses can misclassify employees as contractors to cut costs, so it is important to understand the right route contractors can take to gaining the proper coverage as an employee.

What to do if injured as an independent contractor

Independent contractors are self-employed and are therefore responsible for keeping track of expenses and providing their own health insurance. While wages are not taxed, this loose relationship with a company can leave contractors without support when it is needed the most.

Independent contractors are occasionally required to carry their own workers' compensation insurance as part of the job requirement, but coverage can be hard to find due to the limited needs of purchasers. Often, the need for coverage comes down to the contractor's perception of risk. So, what do you do as an independent contractor when the risk becomes a reality?

Your direct options to seek compensation from the company may be limited without legal help. A workers' compensation attorney can determine the viability of your case. Uber has fought and won numerous legal battles since its founding in 2009; but, like the suit filed against Uber in New York, your lawsuit could have an industry-wide impact on the classification of independent contractors.

A workers' compensation attorney can be your voice in the industry when employment law fails to provide the coverage necessary to restore normalcy in your life after an injury.

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