The taxi service has now become a relic of the past, and rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have swooped in fast. For good or bad, such platforms appear to be the future of private transportation. People are often in a rush for heading to their destinations, and that's where the Uber rideshare app becomes a lifesaver.
Ridesharing is convenient, simple, and highly effective. But at the same time, Uber is not perfectly safe. After all, the driver is a human being, capable of committing a human error. And then there is the possibility that someone else's negligence may cause an accident.
In either case, you'll have a mess at your hands, but who's going to clean it up?
Your medical bills and other damages are not going to pay up for themselves, the liable party will have to compensate you for these.
But who is liable?
Can you drag Uber into the legal tussle?
We'll answer these and several related questions in this article.
However, to make the best of your Uber collision insurance claim, you'll need the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Causes Of Uber Accidents
To establish liability in any personal injury case, it is first important to understand how the whole thing happened and could the accident have been prevented. We know that the odds for Uber accidents are not less than that for a typical car accident, perhaps they're higher considering that the drivers are busy, most of the time, fumbling with their phone/tracker.
This means that the biggest cause for Uber accidents is distracted driving, which is more likely to happen from the Uber driver's part but can happen the other way around as well. However, there is a small technicality that keeps Uber safe from most of the personal injury lawsuits, and this is that they don't consider their drivers as employees but instead brand them as contractors.
This means that apart from a small window, the actions of the driver will not reflect on the company's policy. But if the driver causes an accident while they're logged into the Uber app and going for a ride (picking up or dropping), then the company will have to answer for any misconduct.
Thus if the driver's negligence happened because of the Uber app, which is the case with most Uber accidents, then you can hold both the host driver and the company liable.
Uber accidents, as with all other car accidents can happen due to any number of reasons, other than distraction, such as a defective rideshare vehicle, reckless driving, drowsy driving, speeding, drunk driving, and so on. All of this is also possible on the other end as well, i.e. perhaps another driver at fault smashed their personal vehicle into the Uber you were using.
However, in the case of an Uber-pedestrian accident, it is pretty obvious that the driver is at fault because drivers are to blame in most of such cases.
Thus before you go on and worry about who's to be blamed for an Uber accident, be sure to explore the cause first because half of the answers lie in that area.
When Is Uber Liable?
Since Uber's liability policy covers a $1 million compensation for damage (their insurance company does) for their passengers in the event of an accident, it serves one to know whether they can consider Uber liable for bodily injury and property damage liability in their case or not. And as we described above, it is complicated.
While Uber does have a hiring and monitoring system, which is more than what most transportation businesses can say about their setup, it does not refer to any of its drivers as employees. No, not even when they are taking rides for Uber, instead, they are labeled as independent contractors.
This means that if an accident happens in routine, you can't sue Uber because the liable driver will be the solely at-fault party. However, if the rideshare driver was logged into to ridesharing app and picking up a rideshare request, or transporting someone, or dropping someone off when the accident happened, then Uber will be partly liable for the damages they caused.
This is covered by Florida statute 627.748.
And in case you were in an Uber crash caused by an uninsured driver (not an automobile insurance carrier) or an underinsured driver, then you can rest assured that the company's insurance provider will support you. Of course, this liability insurance comes with limitations of its own, thus you may have to dig into your personal insurance policy (personal coverage: personal injury protection, uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured coverage, personal car insurance, health insurance, etc.) to make up for your losses.
Moreover, if you had some fellows with you in the car when the motor vehicle collision happened, then the damage liability coverage offered by the company's auto insurance policy will be divided to compensate every injured person. Thus in such Uber car accident cases, it is best to get a settlement financial recovery as soon as possible if you want the lion's share for your Uber accident claim as per the auto insurance coverage.
Who Pays for Uber Accidents? Who Will Pay You For The Damages?
As noted earlier, the company will pay up for your Uber claim only under certain conditions, however, to make things clearer, here are some possibilities for the liable parties:
- The Uber company will be liable if the auto accident happened when the ridesharing app was on.
- The ride sharing driver will be liable, partly or solely, if they caused the accident.
- In the latter case, the accident must've happened when the negligent driver was not engaged on the Uber platform.
- A third-party driver will be liable if they crashed their vehicle into the Uber you were riding in, in such cases, third-party liability coverage will compensate you.
- In the case of a pedestrian-Uber/Lyft accident, the Uber driver will be most likely at-fault, but the company too will share the blame considering that the responsible driver was using their app at the moment.
- The passengers in the Uber vehicle is rarely ever at fault, and thus will be considered accident victims.
Depending on who has to pay up for your damage claim, your financial recovery will vary. However, the most important aspect of an Uber accident settlement is knowing if the company is liable. If the answer is yes, then the intensity of your condition will demand fair compensation from their insurance coverage.
Of course, in the case of combined liability (both drivers), the percentage of fault will become a factor.
Usually, the sum is around thousands of dollars in liability, which is mostly enough to cover your damages (medical evaluation costs, hospital bills, property damage liability, etc.) and lost wage claim (if you had to miss work for a couple of days).
This sum is limited by the liability insurance limit since the auto insurance requirements in Texas are not enough for severe cases; there is a dire need to implement policies to introduce proper car insurance for such situations so that an Uber accident victim doesn't have to fall back to their personal policy and underinsured/uninsured motorist liability for support in their accident injury claim.
In the event of wrongful death, the responsible insurance company will have to pay a much higher sum since the death benefit/settlement is much tougher.
To ensure that you get a fair settlement from the auto insurer as per the indications pointing towards the severity of your damages, i.e. your medical record, police report (investigation), and other evidence, you'll need the services of a competent auto injury attorney.
Uber's Contingent Policy
Just a short heads up about what happens if the Uber driver (negligent party) is not currently involved with a pre-arranged ride request but is on the Uber network, in search of one. This is where Uber's contingent policy comes into action if the ride-share driver causes an accident at this stage.
This commercial policy has limited liability coverage of up to $50,000 for bodily injury liability (medical care) and up to $25,000 for property damage coverage. Though the rideshare insurance payout in such cases is limited, it is still better than nothing at all and the sum may be enough if your damages were not extreme.
And just so you don't forget, Uber accidents too fall within the Texas state's statute of limitations which gives you only a two-year period of time on filing a personal injury lawsuit in a state or federal court. While this two years time limit may seem like an endless time, it is not.
Be quick to call an experienced attorney to seek legal counsel and exercise your rights to compensation lest this opportunity is lost.
The Glenn Law Firm Can Help
Going through the personal injury settlement process for Uber accidents can be tricky and highly confusing at times. You may or may not be able to drag in the ride-sharing service as a liable party for your personal injury claim or may simply not be able to take your case to the level it can go simply because you're unaware of the complete picture.
The insurance adjuster from the at-fault side will try to get you done for a quick settlement but it is rarely wise to do so.
But you need not worry about any of these things because an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to handle it all. We know you might be worried about the legal fees and all but you don't have to because our team of experienced attorneys at the Glenn Personal Injury Law Firm works on a contingency fee plan.
You only pay when you win.
Sounds fair, right? Call us today to learn more!