When employees sustain injuries while traveling for work, injuries are usually covered under workers’ compensation insurance provided by their employer, as long as the injuries are directly linked to work-related duties.
Work-Related Travel Injuries
Workers who travel for work duties routinely use ride-share transportation services like Uber and Lyft, especially when travel takes them to distant locations. In some cases, workers use Uber services for local travel to reduce gas expenses, wear-and-tear on their car, and driving stress in heavy traffic. For many workers who regularly travel for work, ride-share companies like Uber provide an easier, less stressful means of transportation, unless the Uber vehicle is involved in a car crash.
Typically, employee injuries that occur during travel are covered by workers’ compensation, as long as the injuries are work-related. However, proof that remote injuries are directly related to work is required to receive benefits for medical expenses, lost income, rehabilitation costs, and pain and suffering. To validate a claim, a work injury lawyer may need to prove the following conditions:
- Remote injuries occurred during the course of normal work duties
- Remote injuries occurred during normal work hours
- The worker’s employer approved travel arrangements in advance
- The worker’s employer required certain travel duties
- The employer derived benefits from the worker’s activities
If the workers’ compensation claim is denied, a work injury lawyer can file an appeal and request a hearing with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. In most cases that involve workers’ compensation disputes, the Commission tends to side with the injured worker, even when injuries occur during travel. This serves everyone’s best interest. It ensures that the employee’s medical bills are paid during recovery, prevents civil personal injury lawsuits against employers, and eases the burden on the judicial system.
Liability for Uber Accidents
When an Uber accident occurs, insurance plays a significant role in injury claims. If the Uber driver is at fault for the accident, Uber passengers can file a personal injury claim for up to $1 million against the Uber driver’s liability insurance coverage. However, if another driver is at fault, injured passengers must rely on the Uber driver’s personal injury liability policy with his/her insurance provider. If the driver is uninsured, injured passengers may need to file a personal injury lawsuit with a work injury lawyer to recover for damages.
In the United States, Uber drivers are typically covered for vehicle accidents and injuries by four major insurers: Allstate, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, and Progressive. However, this insurance only covers injuries if the Uber driver is logged into the Uber app at the time of the accident. This shows that the driver is officially on-duty, either in route to pick up a passenger or delivering a passenger to a specified location. If the Uber driver is logged into the app, typical coverage includes:
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $50,000 in bodily injury per person
- $25,000 in property damage per accident.
If the Uber driver is en route to pick up a passenger or provide ride-share transportation service, the auto insurance limits are much higher: $1,000,000 third-party liability; $250,000 in uninsured motorist bodily injury; and contingent comprehensive and collision up to actual cash value of the car ($1,000 deductible).
If the Uber driver is not logged into the Uber app at the time of the accident, Uber will not assume liability for passenger injuries and injury claims will be denied. The only form of recourse to collect compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering is through a work injury lawyer who can file a personal injury lawsuit in the state where the Uber accident occurred.
Ride-Share Accident Claims
When a worker is injured while traveling for work duties, he/she should investigate a workers’ compensation claim first through his/her employer. In addition, the worker should report the Uber accident to Uber, so the accident is properly documented. Uber and Lyft passengers can report ride-share accidents through apps on their cell phones. When an accident is reported, the app generates an incident report and prompts a call from Uber or Lyft insurance investigators who will call back to get recorded statements.
When reporting an accident and/or injuries through ride-share apps, injured passengers should be cautious about the information they provide. It’s best to talk to a ride-share accident lawyer or a work injury lawyer before taking phone calls from Uber or Lyft investigators because investigators often ask for recorded statements. Uber & Lyft investigators and insurance representatives work for these ride-share companies, so they try to minimize claims to reduce accident liability claims.
When traveling for work, it’s important to call the police if an Uber accident happens, even if work duties require leaving the accident scene. A police report will be essential for a good outcome in a workers’ compensation claim, as well as a personal injury claim.