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Workers' compensation for Uber drivers?

While it may not have the obvious risks of jobs like fire fighting or working in construction, rideshare drivers have one of the most dangerous work environments in the country. In addition to the usual risks that come with being on the road--usually in urban areas--for long stretches of time, the risks drivers face from unruly passengers have received little media attention. However, rideshare drivers must often contend with different forms of violent behavior from their passengers. If you're a rideshare driver, the likelihood you'll be murdered on the job is five times greater than the average of all other workers.

While this statistic may be staggering, it might be equally startling to consider that for all of the serious risks drivers face at work, as independent contractors, they are not afforded the fundamental protections of workers' compensation. Until now.

Uber has introduced a pilot program in eight states across the country that offers workers' compensation to its drivers. Under this opt-in program, the driver agrees to pay an additional few cents per mile, and the passenger is also charged an additional nickel per mile. In exchange, the driver receives up to $1 million in protection if they experience a work-related accident.

While the program is still in its initial stages--and is not yet available in Colorado--it is hoped to be a success and to revolutionize workers' compensation for independent contractors. Advocates of the program hope to see it spread to other states as well as to other rideshare services.

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