Over the last few years, Uber has become one of the most widely known companies in the U.S. And this is partly due to how integrated it’s become in our everyday lives. Whether you’re running a quick errand, on your way to a business meeting, or have plans for a night out with friends, this peer-to-peer ridesharing service ensures that you get where you’re going and in record time. But what happens if your Uber trip takes a dangerous detour?
This is a question that many Uber passengers have faced within the last few months as accidents have been on the rise. In fact, although this service has been touted as one that improves traffic safety, research shows that Uber, and other ridesharing services like it, have actually led to an increase in accident rates. It’s roughly estimated that the deaths from these accidents have resulted in a yearly economic loss of $10 billion. And as the number of Uber drivers increase so do the accidents.
So what does this mean in legal terms? Specifically, what should you, the passenger, do if you’re involved in an accident while riding with Uber? Let’s take a moment to discuss the most important steps. But first, here are a few things you should know.
Coverage Provided to Uber Drivers
Every Uber driver is offered a certain amount of liability protection. The amount of coverage largely depends on whether or not they have a passenger. To makes things a little easier to understand, the company breaks things up into periods:
Period 0 means that the driver is offline and has no passenger. During this phase, Uber does not cover the driver. They’re driving under their own personal policy.
Period 1 means that the driver has no passenger but is online. During this phase, the Uber driver is active on the app but hasn’t received a ride request. The driver is covered by rideshare insurance as well as Uber’s liability insurance.
Period 2 means that the driver has a ride request but no passenger. During this phase, the Uber app is active, the driver has a ride request, and they are in route to pick up the passenger. The driver is fully covered by Uber at this point.
Period 3 means that the driver has a passenger. During this phase, the Uber app is active and the passenger is in the vehicle and on their way to the destination. Both the driver and passenger are fully covered by Uber at this point.
Coverage Provided to Uber Passengers
As you can see, by the time you’ve entered the vehicle your Uber driver is in Period 3. This means that you’re covered by Uber’s liability insurance until you exit the vehicle. But the question is, what does Uber’s insurance actually cover in the event of an accident? If you were injured in an accident where your driver was at fault, then you can expect to get as much as $50,000. Uber will only pay up to $100,000 per accident, no matter how many passengers there are in the vehicle. However, there are special circumstances in which the injured party may receive up to $1 million.
Potential Problems with Coverage
Sure, you may be covered under Uber’s liability insurance in the event of an accident. But this isn’t to say that everything will go smoothly. There are instances in which your driver may not have personal insurance.
Ideally, the process goes as follows: an accident occurs, the driver files a claim on their personal insurance, their personal insurance company denies the claim because the vehicle was considered to be a commercial vehicle at the time of the accident, and then Uber steps up and covers the damages as promised. Unfortunately, if your driver does not have insurance then things don’t go as planned. You see, Uber’s insurance will only kick in after the driver makes a claim on their own policy. This means that in order to get the benefit of the coverage, the driver must first prove that they have their own insurance.
Steps to Take In The Even of An Uber Accident
Now that you have a better idea of what type of coverage Uber offers as well as the possible issues that may arise, it’s important that you know what to do in the event of an accident. Typically, there are five things that you should do.
Step 1: Document
One of the first things you should do is to document the accident. This means that you need to take video or pictures of the damage. You should also thoroughly document your injuries.
Step 2: Ask for Information
The next thing you should do is get everyone’s contact information. Ask both drivers for their phone numbers. You should also take down their license plate numbers.
Step 3: File a Claim
If you want to make sure that you receive compensation for your injuries, then you need to file a claim. Specifically, you need to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. If your Uber driver was at fault, then you will be able to pursue compensation from them or Uber itself.
Step 4: File a Lawsuit for Damages
It’s important to remember that Uber drivers aren’t employees. They’re independent contractors. And this means that Uber can easily deny liability. However, when you file a lawsuit that targets your Uber driver, if they’re not able to pay your medical bills then Uber will likely cover the expenses.
Step 5: Contact an Uber Accident Lawyer
If you feel that you are entitled to damages for your injuries or you are unsure about the process, then you need to get in touch with a ridesharing accident lawyer. This way, you can work with an experienced professional who handles cases similar to yours on a regular basis. Most personal injury lawyers will help you seek compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, transportation costs, and rehabilitation. A qualified ridesharing accident lawyer will also make sure that you’re compensated for lost wages.
Car accidents can be life-changing. That’s why it’s so important that you’re aware of what type of coverage you have. This is especially the case if you happen to be an Uber passenger. Luckily, this ridesharing company makes provisions in cases of accidents. They cover their passengers for up to $50,000. In fact, depending on the circumstances, the company may even shell out as much as $1 million. The key is to always be prepared. Also, make sure that you’re equipped with the contact information of an Uber accident lawyer –specifically West Coast trial lawyers.