Rideshare options like Uber and Lyft have become extremely popular forms of transportation for visitors and residents of Baltimore alike. However, the risk of a traffic crash does not decrease whether someone chooses to drive or call an Uber to pick them up.
In fact, it may also be the Uber drivers themselves who face high risks on Maryland roads, as well as complications in the aftermath of an accident.
Driver charged in Uber crash on Crain Highway
CBS Baltimore reported that a 2018 fiery accident on Crain Highway left a 29-year-old Uber passenger dead and the driver with life-threatening injuries. Last Friday, police charged the driver at fault for the crash, who made a dangerous lane change and crashed into the Uber driver's vehicle.
The negligent driver currently faces various charges, including negligent manslaughter by auto and driving while impaired. There is no question about that driver's negligence, but the crash does bring the Uber driver's situation into question.
Is an Uber accident a work injury?
The short answer is likely no.
Truck drivers and other commercial drivers often qualify for workers' compensation benefits if they suffer serious injuries in a traffic accident. And while an Uber driver could easily suffer an injury while on the job, they cannot recover workers' compensation.
Uber drivers have complicated benefits
Uber offers several incentives and specific benefits to their drivers across the country. However, workers' compensation is not one of those benefits.
That is because Uber classifies all of their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees. Therefore, Uber does not need workers' compensation insurance to cover their drivers.
This is already a significant issue with many Uber drivers. Many are seeking a change to Uber's policies, but at the moment drivers cannot recover workers' compensation.
A personal injury claim is still an option
Uber may face a new legal battle concerning workers' compensation benefits for their drivers. However, it is still possible for injured drivers to file a personal injury claim regardless of their benefits. As long as they were not at fault for the crash--like the Crain Highway crash, for example--the driver could still recover compensation for their injuries, medical costs and lost wages.