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Are Uber & Lyft Drivers Employees or Independent Contractors?

Are You Protected in Case of a Ridesharing Accident?

The rideshare industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade. Uber and Lyft took in $11.3 billion dollars in 2018. The sudden and rapid expansion of these two companies has left state and federal governments unsure of how to regulate them.

Uber and Lyft drivers and their privately-owned vehicles are the beating heart of the industry. The two companies provide an app through which travellers can summon a car. Any rideshare driver who has access to the app can take the fare. Until recently, such drivers acted as independent contractors. One of the most important implications of this status is that it left them liable for a range of incidents that might occur while on the job. However, this became untenable. A range of incidents—from sexual harassment to car accident settlements—forced Uber alone to pay out over $100 million in penalty charges.

The state of California passed legislation that made rideshare drivers employees rather than independent contractors. The law went into effect January 20th, 2020.

The Difference Between Employees and Independent Contractors

A company can recruit and set to work as an independent contractor for certain kinds of jobs. In highly complex lines of work that require a specialized skill set and that have a fixed time for completion, it is best for a company to bring in such a professional. However, it can be unfair and exploitative to designate as independent contractors employees whose work is steadier, less complex, and more tightly controlled by the company.

The reason why many companies try to avoid employing workers is because of the additional costs that come with it. Companies that hire employees are responsible for the management of social security tax, income tax paperwork, and Medicare. They must also offer health care insurance and various types of family and medical leave. Having independent contractors exempts them from such labor laws and regulations.

There is a clearer way to figure out whether you, as a worker, should be treated as an independent contractor or an employee. All you need do is ask the same questions a court asks. Such as:

-Does the company directly control the worker’s daily duties?

-Does the company provide workers with tools, and does it offer reimbursement and payment plans?

-Does the company provide employee benefits, insurance plans, paid sick leave, etc.?

-Is the work that you do central to the business?

Your Rights as an Employee

If you work as an Uber or Lyft driver in California, then you have the rights of an employee. If a mishap occurs while you are on the job, your employer is liable. Mishaps that occur as a result of misconduct, recklessness, carelessness, or even honest mistakes can be cause for a claim.

Perhaps the costliest mishap that a driver can face is a car accident with injuries. If you and the passengers are injured in an accident, you now have the right to seek compensation from the rideshare company you work with. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney can help you make a case against them.

The state of California has numerous laws and regulations that operate as vehicles for employees to claim compensation from their employers. These include:

-California Tort Claims Act

-Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act

-Evidence Guidelines

-Comparative Negligence

An LA injury lawyer can give you the advice and insight you need when building your case. Although California maintains a progressive tort system that leans in favor of workers, you must pursue your case according to the law. You must invoke the right law and the correct provisions in it when making your case. You must also follow certain rules and procedures if you are to be successful in your suit. Your Uber wreck lawyer in Los Angeles will know how to guide you through this process.

Damages You May Be Entitled To

As a rideshare driver, your safety and that of your passengers are always uppermost in your mind. You are cautious and alert on the road. Other drivers may not be as conscientious. And if you are in an accident that was caused by another, you should not be held liable for the damages. As an employee of Uber or Lyft, you have the right to claim compensation for your losses. An LA accident lawyer can help.

You can claim the follow types of damages:

  1. Economic

A car accident can put you in the hospital and out of work for weeks, months, or even years to come. It can leave you with huge medical costs. The loss of revenue may lead to financial collapse. A claim for economic damages will include the out-of-pocket expenses and losses you have incurred owing to the accident. Examples of economic damages include:

-Medical costs

-Loss of wages

-Loss of earning capacity

  1. Non-Economic

A serious injury can lead to a range of emotional strains and stresses. You can claim compensation for non-economic damages, which may include:

-Emotional distress

-Pain and suffering

-Loss of consortium

  1. Punitive

Your experienced car crash attorney can also help you pursue punitive damages. California courts recognize these as valid claims. They are intended to punish actions and behaviors that are especially egregious and outrageous. Although they are relatively rare, they are sometimes awarded in jury trials and can amount to significant amounts of money. A Lyft wreck lawyer in Los Angeles will advise you whether to pursue this claim.

Do Not Go It Alone

When you become an Uber or Lyft driver in California, the company should inform you of your rights as an employee. If you are involved in an accident or mishap of any kind, you should lean on them. If you are not getting the money and support you are owed, do not try to fight the company on your own. You should hire a ridesharing accident attorney in Los Angeles. Lawyers who suport rideshare drivers know the law and how to use it to the benefit of their clients.

If you have been involved in a mishap while driving as an Uber or Lyft driver, then you should call a firm that specializes in lawyers for Uber and Lyft drivers. Speaking with an accident attorney in the Los Angeles area will give you a better understanding of your rights.

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