The popularity of ridesharing services such as Uber has grown significantly over the past several years. Uber, as with other competitor programs, offers an alternative and convenient method of transportation to the public while at the same time providing private car owners the opportunity to earn income as an Uber driver. This fairly new and unique business model, although highly beneficial to those who use the service, has also been the subject of some concern related to passenger safety. For instance, what happens if an Uber driver crashes? Who is liable for the resulting property damage or personal injuries incurred?
As highly skilled lawyers, Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. understands how ridesharing liability law applies to your situation and your accident claim. If you have suffered an injury due to an accident involving an Uber or some other ridesharing vehicle, we can fight vigorously to help you obtain the compensation to which you may be entitled.
Call us today at (312) 236-2900 schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Uber’s Insurance Policy Structure
The insurance structure provided by Uber that covers its drivers and passengers can be explained as follows:
- Drivers who provide Uber services and are not available to pick up passengers at particular periods of time, are covered during those times by their own auto insurance policy.
- Drivers who are available to pick up passengers, but have yet to do so, are covered by their own auto insurance in addition to contingent liability coverage. This coverage extends to $50,000 per injury (total of $100,000) and a maximum of $25,000 in property damage. This is available when the driver’s personal insurance does not cover the liability.
- Drivers who are transporting a passenger benefit from a $1 million liability coverage policy and a $1 million uninsured/underinsured coverage policy.
Various accident scenarios are possible involving Uber vehicles on the road. Below are some scenarios involving Uber driver accidents and resulting liability.
Uber Driver Hits Your Car – No Personal Injuries
If an Uber driver crashes into your vehicle and there are no injuries, but only property damage, the consequences will unfold the same as with a routine traffic accident. Drivers will exchange information, make notes about the accident, take any relevant photos, and then contact their respective insurance companies to report the incident.
Uber Vehicle Crashes With You as a Passenger – No Personal Injuries
If an Uber vehicle is involved in an accident with you as a passenger and the only consequence is damage to property, you may be asked to provide information to law enforcement or an insurance company pertaining to your version of what occurred. However, other than this, you have no stake or liability in the incident. The Uber driver may be covered by the liability coverage policy mentioned above.
Uber Vehicle Crashes With You as a Passenger – Personal Injury
As stated above, Uber’s insurance policy technically covers this scenario up to $1 million. It’s also intended to cover a passenger’s injuries if the other driver caused the accident and that driver was uninsured or underinsured. However, according to Uber, this insurance arrangement prevents you from suing them for damages that exceed the $1 million insurance coverage, even in cases when the Uber driver crashes due to negligence or recklessness, i.e., driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. In such a case, you may file a lawsuit against the driver, but the driver may not be able to pay much in damages.
The outcome of a potential lawsuit against Uber may depend if the courts evaluate Uber’s drivers as independent contractors. If the court determines that these drivers are actually employees, then Uber may carry liability for their reckless or negligent actions.
Uber Vehicle Injures a Bystander or Occupant of Another Vehicle
If an Uber driver, as an independent contractor, is involved in a crash that injures a pedestrian or the driver or passenger of another vehicle, the question of liability depends on whether or not the driver was on duty and carrying out a trip when the accident occurred. If the Uber driver crashes while conducting a trip, resulting in such injuries, Uber’s $1 million liability insurance coverage will apply. If the driver was off duty or between fares, the Uber driver’s personal insurance coverage applies with the possibility of added contingent liability coverage.
Again, if Uber’s drivers are classified as employees instead of independent contractors, then Uber becomes responsible for their drivers’ actions in terms of accidents, negligence or reckless driving, and associated insurance coverage.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
If you have been injured in a car crash while using a ridesharing service such as Uber, you may be entitled to recover compensation. Our experienced Chicago Uber attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can maneuver your claim through the insurance system to help you receive the settlement you deserve. If necessary, we can also represent you effectively in court to recover any damages you are owed.
Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900 to schedule a free case evaluation.