In large cities, cabs have often been relied on to provide an alternative to driving or using mass transportation. Recently, companies like Lyft and Uber have been transforming how people travel. These companies, however, have not changed one facet of transportation in particular. Driving leads to car accidents.
Even the most careful drivers can be injured from another driver’s carelessness or error. As the law continues to develop . dealing with insurance companies has become increasing difficult. The dedicated and trained accident lawyers at Freundlich and Littman, LLC have years of experience dealing with personal injuries resulting from car accidents and forcing insurance companies to pay their fair share.. If you are injured in an uber-related accident in a city where Uber has been approved, do not wait to seek legal advice.
What is Uber and How Does It Work?
Uber is a mobile-based service which allows its users to pay for and schedule one of their drivers, much like a taxi service would. The largest difference between a taxi driver and an Uber driver is that taxi drivers are required to be licensed with a local government department or union. Uber drivers are “independent contractors”. That term means that the drivers are not employees of Uber.
Due to this fact, Uber will not have what is called, “vicarious liability”. This liability concept typically holds employers responsible for any negligence of their employees during their scope of their employment. It can be a complicated area of law, but it means that Uber, in theory, does not pay for the negligence of their drivers. Uber drivers have limited insurance available to them from Uber, but they are expected to still have their own personal car insurance.
Uber has been fighting claims for years that they employ the drivers. Rather, they argue that their company provides a means for a customer to connect with a driver. Uber is also notorious for fighting liability or responsibility. Modern taxi companies argue that due to government regulations in many large cities, they have more liability and responsibilities placed on them than Uber drivers.
All these differences beg, the question: who bears the cost in an accident?
Who Bears the Cost in an Accident?
In a perfect world both drivers in a car accident are insured. After an accident, the drivers exchange insurance information and the insurance companies typically take over the claims. In a taxi situation, the taxi driver hands over the insurance information provided by their company. An Uber driver, on the other hand, drives for themselves and not the company. Does that mean that Uber has no responsibility to pay insurance money to anyone? Not necessarily.
Uber does not claim to be a company akin to a taxi service, but they do have policies for those who are injured by an Uber driver. In the beginning, Uber did not allow Uber drivers to have insurance coverage between picking up clients.
An Uber driver drives their own personal vehicle. As such, they have personal insurance on their cars. If they get into accidents, their insurance may cover their own injuries or injuries of other drivers; however, it may not. Many personal car insurance policies prevent collecting from acts of driving for a profit. In doing so, the insurance company may resist payouts to Uber drivers themselves. Likewise, personal medical insurance may not be able to cover entirety of expenses. It will be difficult to fully be made whole.
Uber has insurance policies in place for Uber drivers who are injured; however, because these drivers are independent contractors, a third party or a customer that is injured faces difficulty in obtaining monetary relief from Uber itself. Up until a recent case where an “off duty” Uber driver killed a child, Uber would not supply insurance for drivers in between transporting customers. Is recovery now possible from an uber when struck by an off duty uber driver?
What to Do Next
Uber has a system for reporting accidents. Their drivers are supposed to report an accident. From there, Uber has a one million dollar policy which covers the property damage and physical injuries. If you are operating another vehicle involved in an accident with an uber driver, the rules on whose insurance covers are unclear. Do you seek relief from the driver’s personal insurance? What if they deny coverage?
Though it is clear you can hold another Uber driver accountable for an accident through their personal insurance, Uber’s accountability for an accident is questionable. Uber is vehemently denying any managerial roles over Uber drivers. They claim that they are merely the means of communication; however, many Courts are challenging these concept and finding liability in certain situations.
If you have been in accident involving an Uber or Lyft operated vehicle, find out your rights. It is confusing and exhausting trying to get ahold of money that you are entitled to, especially when an insurance company is involved. Do you sue everyone? The answer is complicated. The attorneys at Freundlich & Littman, LLC understand that the claims and litigation process can be frustrating. They will be able to help you fight for the money that you deserve. Call our accident lawyers today at 215-545-8500 to schedule a free consultation.