Can You Sue Uber if Your Driver Gets into an Accident?
Ridesharing has changed the way people reach their destination in cities. They don’t have to take their own car out and worry about DUI after meeting with friends for dinner and drinks. They don’t have to wait for public buses. All they have to do is open an app, order a ride and wait for it. Uber drivers arrive and pick you up and drive you exactly where you need to be. That sounds very convenient. Until you are involved in an accident as a Uber passenger.. In his situation, you naturally wonder: can I sue Uber for my medical care bills? Here is what an experienced personal injury attorney at McDonald Worley law firm can say, without offering legal advice.
Who Is Liable for Uber Accidents?
If you were involved as a passenger in an Uber car accident, your first instinct is to sue the ride-sharing company.. In reality, you cannot do that. The reason why this legal option is not available to you is that Uber does not treat its drivers as direct employees. They are all independent contractors, meaning that the company is not liable to pay your Uber accident settlement. Their reasoning is that their business model would go bankrupt if they were to pay for each injured person in a collision involving one of their drivers.
This does not mean that you cannot successfully file personal injury claims after an accident involving drivers from rideshare companies. An experienced Uber accident attorney can help you identify the adequate fault party and file a claim against their auto insurance coverage.
Understanding Uber’s Insurance Policy Structure for Personal Injuries
Although it does not recognize its drivers as employees, Uber requests them to maintain specific auto insurance coverage amounts for personal injuries and property damages. However, the type of insurance that kicks in after an accident depends on what the driver was doing at the moment of the accident.
The good news is that, once you take a pre-arranged ride in an Uber vehicle, you know at least that you will not be dealing with an uninsured driver..
Here are the different accident policy coverage amounts depending on this factor:
The Driver Is Off Duty
If the driver in question is not logged into the Uber app when the auto accident occurred, they are on their personal time. Any crash they may be involved in is not considered an Uber-related accident. In this case, the driver’s personal car insurance policy limit determines how much accident victims can recover. The maximum coverage amounts in the state of Texas are:
- $30,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $60,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 property damage coverage.
The Driver Is Waiting for a Ride
If the motor vehicle collision happened while the diver was active in the Uber app but had not accepted an order yet, Uber’s limited insurance policy kicks in. In this case, the liability insurance limit is:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per person
- $100,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident.
The Uber Driver Accepted a Ride
The maximum insurance coverage provided by Uber is active from the moment the driver accepts a ride request in the app and until the passenger gets out of the vehicle at the destination. Thus, if you were a passenger in an Uber car when the actual crash happened, you are entitled to financial compensation up to:
- $1 million for damages caused by the rideshare driver
- $1 million underinsured motorist coverage or uninnsured motorist coverage (if the responsible party for the accident is another driver)
- additional liability coverage for collision and comprehensive personal insurance cover.
How Frequent Are Uber Car Accidents?
Uber drivers are regular people who own a car and hold a driving license. They do not receive special training and certification, like bus drivers, for example. Thus, they are just as likely to commit negligent actions at the wheel as any other driver. At the same time, Uber does not perform any background checks on them to verify if they received citations or convictions as:
- drunk drivers
- at-fault drivers for a hit-and-run accident
- sex offender.
Moreover, they are more likely to fail their duty of care towards other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians due to:
- distracted driving as they are using the app or looking out for an address
- drowsy driving, because many Uber drivers do this as a side gig and are already tired from their full-time job..
You Are an Injured Passenger in a Uber Ride – What Should You Do?
Just like in any type of accident, your first concern after a rideshare accident must be your health. You should call 9-1-1 and request an ambulance and a law enforcement team at the crash scene. While waiting for medical assistance, Uber victims should get the driver’s complete information (name, address, rideshare insurance policy) and take a screenshot of the app. This will be proof that the operator of the vehicle was in Uber driver mode, i.e. active in the app.
You should also collect as much information as possible from the scene of the accident, such as:
- photos and videos of your injuries
- photo of the driver’s insurance policy and app screen
- contact details from other involved parties (if any) and witnesses.
Remember not to accept a quick settlement offered by the fault driver’s insurance adjusters. Even if you cannot sue the Uber company, you are still entitled for compensation for hospitalization and treatment of your accident injuries, lost wages and other economic and non-economic damages.
Let a Personal Injury Lawyer Handle Your Case
Accident attorneys know that insurance companies never care about the victims, but their own financial interests. Since Texas is an at fault state using the comparative negligence policy, auto insurance policies are not a surefire guarantee that you will get actual cash to cover your medical expenses and other costs after a crash. In most cases, insurers will attempt to shift the biggest part of the fault (over 51%) on the other party – who may not hold collision coverage or be an underinsured driver.
If you were injured in an accident while using the services of ride-share companies, you need an experienced Uber accident lawyer to investigate the crash and determine:
- what type of insurance is active if the driver at fault is working for Uber: personal auto insurance or Uber limited or secondary policy
- how many parties were involved in the crash
- who was mostly at fault for the Uber-related crash
- what is the extent of your injuries.
By analyzing various pieces of evidence, such as the police report prepared at the crash scene and your medical records, personal injury lawyers can calculate the fair compensation amount Uber accident victims should receive. Next, relying on their experience in reaching settlements for accidents, they will negotiate with the auto insurer representative on your behalf.
The Uber accident claim will contain all the types of damages allowed by personal injury law in Texas:
- medical bills starting with the first aid received in an urgent care center until you were discharged
- lost wages
- loss of income, if you suffered permanent injury and cannot return to work
- non-economic damages: pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment of life.
Hire a Personal Injury Law Firm that Puts Your Interests First!
If you were injured in a rideshare vehicle accident, you have the right to receive adequate financial compensation for your expenses and damages. Even if you cannot take legal action against ride-sharing companies, you can find justice by pursuing the individual driver’s insurance policy.
If the insurance claim is not successful or the personal policy does not cover all your expenses, you have the option to open accident lawsuits and pursue the driver for damage and losses.
At McDonald Worley Law Firm, we can offer legal advice and professional representation in any type of accidents involving a rideshare car. We will pursue all fault parties and won’t stop until we win your fair settlement. Call us now for a free case evaluation: 877-721-3423!