Low-cost alternatives to taxi services, such as Uber, are extremely helpful to many. This is especially true if you don’t have a vehicle or live in a larger city where traffic is difficult to navigate. In fact, Uber operates in 400 cities in 68 countries and offers more than 1 million rides every day.
Unfortunately, Uber accidents do happen. If you are in an accident while you’re using Uber, it’s important to know how to react and what to do.
What is Uber?
Uber is a ride-hailing app, allowing users to call a driver to their location and get transportation to another location. It’s significantly different than a taxi, however. First of all, Uber drivers are not professionals. Most work part-time to earn a little extra cash, and no training or special licensing is required.
You also can’t call ahead to schedule Uber, the way you can a traditional taxi. More importantly, taxis are highly regulated by state and local governments. Only so many cabs are allowed, and only so many drivers are allowed to have a medallion that allows them to operate a cab. None of these regulations apply to Uber, which can be especially unfortunate when a car accident occurs.
Uber provides tips on how to have the safest ride possible, but in the end, no one from the company is watching your ride. With a cab driver, there are well-established laws about liability in case of an accident. There are also specific car insurance requirements. Not so with Uber. The driver is using his or her personal car to give you a lift, not a company car. As a result, the legal status of who’s liable in case of an accident can get very muddy.
What Happens if You Are in Uber Accident?
Uber carries specific insurance that applies when drivers accept passengers through their service, but this coverage is secondary to the driver’s personal insurance. Also, the insurance does not apply when an Uber driver is “on the clock” but does not have a passenger. Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees, which leaves a lot of the liability with the driver. Unfortunately, most Uber drivers don’t have the financial resources to handle a serious claim.
If you need compensation due to an Uber accident, you will likely have to fight for it. There are a number of reasons that might apply. Here are a couple of common ones:
- Your Uber driver’s personal insurance policy doesn’t include driving for profit. Most personal insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for any for-profit driving incidents. Because commercial insurance is more expensive, it’s likely that a part-time Uber driver doesn’t have it.
- Serious injuries may require more money than the driver’s policy or your policy can cover. You may simply think that you can use your insurance to cover any shortfall in the driver’s coverage. Unfortunately, it’s possible that won’t be enough. Uber drivers are allowed to carry state minimum coverage, which doesn’t go far when medical care is involved.
When an Uber driver causes an accident, they are considered personally liable. Because they are not employees of Uber, but rather are independent contractors, they bear the financial burden themselves.
Finding the Right Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident while using Uber, you need to make sure your rights are protected and that you receive the appropriate compensation. And unfortunately, you’ll probably have to fight to get the proper compensation because the personal auto insurance policy of the driver may refuse to pay.
The proper attorney will make sure you are treated fairly and receive the full compensation you deserve. It may be tempting to simply take a settlement from the driver’s insurance company, but remember that the agent doesn’t work for you. The agent works for the insurance company, and the goal is to minimize the payment to save the company money.
Most people are unaware how risky taking an Uber ride can be. If you have been injured during an Uber ride, let me help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the Law Office of Sonja Duckstein for more information.