Can I Drive For Uber While on Worker’s Comp?
Los Angeles — and Southern California in general — can be an expensive place to live. When you get hurt on the job, worker’s compensation can be a tremendous help for covering lost income and medical bills. While these disability benefits can cover a portion of your financial losses, sometimes it just isn’t enough to make ends meet. In situations like these, is it legal to take part-time work driving for Uber, while still receiving worker’s comp?
Yes, as long as you report the income earned, you can drive for a ridesharing company while on worker’s compensation. Every state has different rules regarding worker’s compensation and part-time jobs. For example, Louisiana residents receiving worker’s compensation benefits are prohibited from taking any other type of job, even if they are eligible for ‘light duty’ tasks.
Worker’s comp in California
It’s important to note that worker’s comp is designed to provide supplemental income to those who are physically unable to perform their regular job duties. Let’s assume you were working in construction as a heavy laborer, but the job is too physically demanding given your current injuries. Driving a car, however, is something you are able to do, and it puts a little extra money in your pocket. The caveat is that you must report your earnings as an Uber driver. If you do not do this, it can be construed as insurance fraud.
There are consequences to taking on side work. Before agreeing to drive for Uber while getting workman’s comp benefits, speak to an Uber accident lawyer at Ellis Injury Law.
Additional income must be reported
If you live in California and are getting workers’ compensation benefits, you are legally required to tell your employer or your employer’s insurer of any additional wages you are earning. It may be tempting to keep your side job a secret, but failing to do so can result in fraud charges, which carry steep penalties and up to five years of prison time.
In the event that your employer finds out that you are driving for Uber and pocketing the earnings ‘under the table,’ their insurance company may decide to cancel your benefits. Or they could claim that you tried to hide your earnings and defraud your employer.
The caveat to reporting your extra income as an Uber driver means that your wage loss or temporary disability benefits will be adjusted accordingly. At present, these benefits are calculated as two-thirds of your average weekly wage.
What if you already worked for Uber?
In order to support their families and cover basic living expenses, many people drive for Uber outside of their normal work hours. If you were already driving for Uber, or another ridesharing service when you suffered a workplace accident at your primary place of employment, there is the possibility of getting temporary disability benefits that reflect earnings from all your previous work.
Big changes with California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5)
For years, Uber and other ‘gig economy companies’ have classified their drivers as independent contractors. With this business model, Uber has not had to worry about minimum wage requirements, health insurance benefits, payroll taxes or worker’s compensation.
California’s new legislation AB5 aims to change that by re-classifying Uber’s independent contractors as employees. Uber is no stranger to legal battles, and its lead counsel says it will not treat their drivers as employees.
According to AB5, employers must meet all three facets of the “ABC test” to classify a worker as an independent contractor:
- The worker performs duties that are outside the core functions of a specific business
- The worker is independent of the control and direction of the company in connection with performing the work, both in reality and under the terms of the relevant contract.
- The worker is engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work being performed for the company
Expert legal advice from Ellis Injury Law
If you have questions about your legal rights after an accident or your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, we invite you to contact Ellis Injury Law to discuss your options. Over the past two decades, our talented attorneys have procured over $350 million on behalf of clients, and we win 99% of the personal injury claims we take on.
Arrange a free consultation with a Los Angeles Uber accident attorney who gets results. Call or text us today.