Workplace safety is important to the Texas workforce, including those who find themselves as part of the gig economy. The term “gig economy” is a broad term encompassing employment for an individual who is paid by the job they do as opposed to an hourly wage or yearly salary. These jobs can be performed online or in person.
Gig workers fall into different categories. There are those for whom gig work is their primary source of income. For others, the gig work is simply a way to supplement their income. This variation means that the safety risk gig workers face can be drastically different. A gig worker with a full-time job is not covered by their full-time employer for the work they do on the side.
Former OSHA adviser Debbie Berkowitz said that gig economy jobs can be ‘very dangerous.” Examples of these jobs include transportation workers and bicycle messengers. Both jobs carry high fatality and injury rates. Things get trickier because many gig workers are classified as independent contractors, and independent contractors, according to OSHA, are responsible for their own safety and their own health. They are not entitled to things like workers compensation or even a minimum wage.
A personal injury attorney may be able to answer questions about gig economy jobs and workers compensation. In a workers compensation claim, a personal injury attorney will have to show that their clients suffered because of inadequate workplace safety. In some circumstances, an injured individual may have the right to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim if they are not able to file a standard workers compensation claim or if they reject the settlement offer. When an individual files a workman compensation claim and accepts the settlement, they waive their rights to file a civil lawsuit.