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Uber Drivers and Workers’ Compensation: Know Your Rights

Ridesharing is a popular form of transportation in Texas. There are tens of thousands of people who work full-time or part-time as Uber drivers or Lyft drivers in Texas. Of course, motor vehicle crashes are a serious safety hazard for all ridesharing drivers. This raises an important question: Can you file for workers’ comp benefits if you are hurt while driving an Uber in Texas? The short answer is “no”—Uber drivers are not classified as employees and are not covered by workers’ comp. Here, our Houston personal injury lawyer provides an overview of your rights and your options if you were hurt in an accident while working as an Uber driver in Texas.

Uber Drivers Are Not Employees (Not Covered by Workers’ Comp in Texas)

In Texas, Uber drivers are not considered employees. Instead, ridesharing drivers are classified as independent contractors. It is an important distinction because it has a big impact on a driver’s rights. As independent contractors, Uber drivers have the freedom to set their own hours. However, there is a downside: They do not receive the same protections that employees do. Most notably, they are not entitled to workers’ compensation coverage. If a person is hurt while working as an Uber driver in Texas, he or she will not have a workers’ comp claim.

Uber Offers Optional Injury Protection to Drivers in 41 States, Including Texas

While Uber drivers are not covered by no-fault workers’ compensation coverage in Texas, the ridesharing company does offer additional coverage through a type of supplemental policy called Optional Injury Protection. It is coverage that is available in 41 states, including in Texas. To be clear, the coverage is totally optional. The cost for this protection is slightly less than $0.03 per mile for covered trips on average. According to Uber, the insurance premium is deducted directly from the driver’s earnings. Here are some of the most notable benefits that could be available through this policy:

  • Uber accident-related medical expenses for up to a maximum of $1,000,000;
  • A maximum of $500 per week in disability benefits if they cannot driver; and
  • A maximum of $150,000 in total survivor benefits after a fatal crash.
An Uber Driver Can Bring a Fault-Based Motor Vehicle Accident Injury Claim

Whether or not you have optional coverage through Uber, you have the right to file a personal injury claim after an Uber accident in Texas. For Uber drivers, their motor vehicle accident claim is governed by state law. Here are some of the key things to know about Uber driver accident injury claims under Texas law:

  • Texas is an At-Fault Motor Vehicle Crash State (Including for Ubers): Texas operates under an "at-fault" system for motor vehicle accidents, including for ridesharing accident claims. The driver (or other party) who is found to be responsible for causing the crash is also liable for any resulting damages. As Uber drivers are not covered by workers’ compensation coverage, this is a critical point. If an Uber driver in Texas is found to be at fault in an accident, they (or their insurance) are responsible for the damages. On the other hand, if another driver is at fault, that driver's insurance should cover the damages.
  • A Modified Comparative Negligence Standard Applies: Uber accident claims are not always straightforward. Multiple parties may be legally responsible for the same collision. Texas determines liability for these crashes using a modified comparative negligence standard (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 33.001). Under this rule, an Uber driver can recover damages only if they are 50% or less responsible for the crash. For example, if an Uber driver is found to be 30% at fault in a crash in Houston, they will be liable for 30% of their own damages. As every percentage point of fault matters, it is imperative that your crash is thoroughly investigated by an experienced attorney.
  • The Statute of Limitations is Two Years: Injured Uber drivers only have a limited amount of time to bring a personal injury. A proactive approach after a serious crash is an absolute must. In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a motor vehicle accident claim is two years from the date of the accident. There are only very narrow exceptions to the statute of limitations. For Uber drivers involved in an accident in Texas, it is imperative to start the legal process as soon as possible. Consult with a top-tier Houston Uber accident lawyer as soon as possible after a serious crash.
Complex Insurance Policies Make Uber Accident Claims Especially Challenging

As there may be a number of different commercial and personal insurance policies implicated in an Uber accident claim, these cases can be exceptionally challenging for victims and families. The big insurance companies are focused on protecting their own bottom line. An Uber driver who was hurt in a motor vehicle crash in Harris County or anywhere else in Texas should not take on the legal claims process alone. An experienced Houston ridesharing accident lawyer can review your case, explain your options, handle insurance, and help you take action to maximize your financial compensation. You may be eligible to recover money damages for:

  • Vehicle repairs and/or replacement;
  • Ambulance fees and emergency room costs;
  • Hospital bills and other types of medical expenses;
  • Long-term rehabilitative treatment;
  • Loss of wages and loss of earning power;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Disability or disfigurement; and
  • Wrongful death of a family member.
Contact Our Houston Uber Accident Attorney Today

At Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, our Houston auto accident lawyer has the skills and experience to take on the full range of Uber accident cases. If you were hurt in a crash as an Uber driver, we are here to help. Call us at (888) 378-1784 or contact us online for a no-cost, no-obligation case review. From our Houston office, we represent injured victims throughout all of Texas.

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