Are You Covered By Worker’s Compensation With Uber?
Q: I plan to begin working as an “Uber” driver soon. Am I covered for on-the-job injuries by Uber?
A: Your question has not yet been answered by the courts. In Oregon there is a statutory exemption for taxicab drivers from workers’ comp. insurance. In other words, until recently all taxi drivers, which would likely include Uber drivers, have been considered independent contractors and not subject to wage and hour laws, unemployment insurance laws, or workers’ compensation laws. However, two recent legal decisions bring the previous law into question.
In 2015, the Oregon Supreme Court held that Broadway taxi cab drivers in Portland were employees, not independent contractors, such that Broadway Cab owed unemployment taxes. Also in 2015, the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued an “advisory statement” which indicated that it may consider Uber drivers to be employees rather than independent contractors under Oregon law. Uber recently settled cases in California and Massachusetts to keep drivers’ status as independent contractors. However, in Britain, the Uber drivers are considered employees.
I suggest checking with your insurance company to make sure you have coverage for any injuries that occur while driving for hire. Some motor vehicle insurance policies have exclusions for vehicles used in a business.
You can also contact a legal professional knowledgable about such laws.