GREENVILLE, South Carolina. One of the ways that employers avoid paying worker’s compensation claims is by labeling workers independent contractors. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, independent contractors are not entitled to benefits under worker’s compensation protections. However, many workers who are injured may not be aware that they may have the right to claim employment status. Many jurisdictions don’t permit employers to use the independent contractor label to avoid paying worker’s compensation. However, it can be difficult to fight a denied claim without the assistance of a worker’s compensation lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina, like the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC. Our firm can review your relationship with your employer and fight for your rights.
One company that has come under fire for classifying workers as independent contractors is Uber. Uber labels its drivers as independent contractors, which can create problems for workers if they are injured. Yet, this may change soon, according to a report by the Post and Courier. According to the Post and Courier, Uber will test a new worker’s compensation policy with workers in South Carolina. The plan may offer more protections to South Carolina drivers who are hurt on the job. The company plans on offering drivers a personal injury insurance policy that will act in lieu of worker’s compensation insurance.
Yet, does this policy offer the same protections as worker’s compensation? In some states, employers have been opting out of worker’s compensation policies in favor of private policies. These policies have come under fire for limiting benefits, cutting costs, and hurting injured families. For Uber’s drivers who already have no protection, some protection is better than none. The concern however, is that other companies may follow suit, by declaring workers independent contractors and then offering them policies that are cheaper and less comprehensive than worker’s compensation.
Uber’s personal injury policy is also not free. Drivers have to pay for it themselves. However, in order to buffer workers from the cost, Uber plans to raise its rates for riders. Yet, if Uber ever decides to lower its rates, it is likely that drivers will still be responsible for paying the tab on their own insurance.
The situation highlights the lack of protections afforded to workers in the “gig economy,” especially workers who perform dangerous tasks, like driving. Uber has long faced criticism for not offering its drivers the protections that other taxi drivers and workers have. The National Employment Law Project has advocated for ride sharing companies to classify their workers as employees so they can enjoy the benefits and protections of employment.
If the policy works in South Carolina, Uber may roll it out across the country. Yet, the situation highlights the real risk that workers face in the state as worker’s rights and worker’s compensation insurance continues to face erosion as employers seek to cut costs. If you have been injured on the job, you may have important rights under the law. If you are having trouble with a worker’s compensation claim or if your claim has been denied, contact the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC in Greenville today.