As the “gig” economy continues to grow in California, companies like Uber and Lyft may claim that their drivers are “independent contractors”, and therefore not entitled to workers compensation benefits when they are injured on the job.
Fortunately, the California Supreme Court has issued an important decision about the potential rights of Uber and Lyft drivers when they suffer an injury “on the clock”.
1) The California Supreme Court Has Spoken
Some companies have created phone apps to facilitate jobs, and claim that because of this modern technology, the employee is magically transformed into an “independent contractor” rather than an employee.
However, “app” or not, a worker may be an employee regardless of what the employer thinks.
On April 30, 2018, the Court announced its landmark decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. vs The Superior Court of Los Angeles County. 4 Cal. 5th 542, 573, 411 P.3d 528 (2018).
Simply put, the Court issued clear guidance on how to determine whether a worker is really an employee, rather than an “independent contractor”.
The bottom line is this: Many “gig” workers may actually be employees rather than independent contractors. What this means is you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits when a work accident happens.
2) What if the accident is my fault?
If you are on the clock, and the auto accident is the fault of the other driver, you may have a claim against the other driver, and under Dynamex, you may also have a right to workers compensation benefits.
But what if you are blamed for the accident?
Because California has a “no-fault” workers compensation system, you still may be entitled to workers compensation benefits, even if the accident was your fault.
3) What if I’m assaulted while I’m driving?
Again, you may have 2 claims: One against the perpetrator, as well as a claim for workers compensation benefits.
4) Do I have other rights as an employee?
If you meet the tests for employment under Dynamex, you may have other significant rights as an employee, including overtime, breaks, reimbursement for costs and expenses related to your employment, and other benefits of employment.
5) How do I find out more?
If you wish to learn more about your potential rights as an Uber or Lyft driver, feel free to give us a call at 714-547-5025.
The consultation is always free.