Former Uber Eats rider Bruna Correa had only been in Australia for three months when she was car-doored by a driver getting out of a parked vehicle, while delivering food in Sydney last year. She required two surgeries, four months off work and three months’ worth of physiotherapy.
When the driver’s door flung open, she fell off her bike and recalls seeing her arm hit the ground, breaking her wrist before the ambulance came.
First, they put my wrist in place manually and the next morning I had surgery. I took it really badly as I didn’t know many people here in Australia. I was alone in the hospital.
I couldn’t work as I was in pain. I didn’t know anything about my legal rights. Other Brazilians on social media who had gone through the same thing helped me and told me I could make a claim. I knew there were risks when I signed up to the app like the pressure to make deliveries on time. It was always in the back of my mind. I knew I wouldn’t have access to sick leave but I thought I could take precautions and wouldn’t need it. – Bruna Correa
After realising she would no longer receive income to support herself, she sought legal support to lodge a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) claim. This meant she was supported by weekly payments to cover her lost income through her CTP claim which have now come to an end.
More than half (55 per cent) of migrant ride share and food delivery workers said they could not afford time off work to recover if injured on the roads, compared to just 25 per cent of Australian workers, according to Slater and Gordon research conducted by Kantar Australia.
Fifty-nine per cent of migrant workers said they would not be able to afford the medical costs following an injury, compared to 27 per cent of Australian workers. And one third of migrant gig workers (33 per cent) did not know they wouldn’t receive automatic super contributions from their employer, when they signed up for the work.
Slater and Gordon Associate Alex Lopes is investigating a motor vehicle accident claim against the driver’s CTP insurer for Bruna’s future economic loss.
Migrant gig economy workers are vulnerable and potentially financially worse off than Australians working alongside them. This group of workers are already financially struggling, add an injury on top of that and they will struggle to cover medical costs, treatment and the loss of wages in addition to their existing living costs. They receive no sick leave and no paid leave at all.
If a car is involved in the accident, the worker may be able to make a CTP claim but they would be better supported under the workers’ compensation scheme, if they were recognised as employees. – Alex Lopes
He said gig economy workers should be able to access the same entitlements available to other employees. And that they should not miss out on access to workers’ compensation benefits just because they are currently considered contractors.
Bruna’s experience shows why it’s important to seek legal assistance so you can be aware of your legal rights to make sure you are covered for loss of income, medical treatment and other expenses as the result of your injury.
In positive news, the Victorian Government has signalled it will move to re-classify food delivery riders and other gig economy workers from independent contractors to employees, and to work with the Federal Government on the issue.
The NSW Government is considering new arrangements to expand the existing workers’ compensation scheme by deeming delivery riders as workers or requiring gig platforms to provide personal injury cover for riders.
Federal Labor has announced plans to regulate the gig economy by establishing an independent body to set minimum pay and conditions for these workers if elected.
The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.