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What Happens To Sharing Economy Workers Who Are Injured On The Job?

Edward Caban, who had installed a dashboard camera in his car after feeling unsafe in his Uber vehicle, was making the rounds in South Orange County when he was assaulted by Benjamin Golden, a Taco Bell executive, who repeatedly hit Caban and pulled his hair, prompting him to respond by pepper-spraying Golden. Caban posted a clip on YouTube showing what he said were the final minutes of the ride.

Unfortunately, Caban and other injured workers can’t file for workers’ compensation benefits, as companies like Uber and other peer-to-peer marketplaces like Homejoy and TaskRabbit are under no obligation to provide protection as they would for full-time employees. These protections also include paid sick days, health coverage and ovetime.

Unlike employees, independent contractors are free to set their own hours, pick their own clients and control other aspects of their work. However, if they get hurt while working, they have to provide their own insurance. The environment of working for oneself also includes the trade off of not having a safety net provided by a company.

Most American taxi drivers are independent contractors, but many do have workers’ compensation in several major cities such as Washington, San Francisco, Chicago and Colorado. Though car-service apps eliminate some risk factors like handling cash, others remain exposed to danger due to working alone at night in urban neighborhoods that may include violence.

The Changing Economy

Due to the new business model and the changing economy, individuals are trying to solve this cultural lag by filing mis-classification suits. The concept is if they can show that these workers are actually employees, then companies will be forced to provide benefits. However, a resolution may be a long ways away, as a successful lawsuit of this nature could take years.

phone-icon-2If you have any questions about workers’ compensation, please feel free to give as a call at (844) 612-5800 anytime. We’re here to help you.

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