Any car accident is highly distressing and disorienting, and when you are a passenger in an Uber you probably think that it is even more so. The good news is that it generally is not any different than a regular car accident, with the exception that you have to take certain steps to protect your interests.
Like a Traditional Car Accident
First, make sure everyone is OK and call emergency medical services for assistance. Once all individuals involved are safe and cared for, you need to assemble some important information, including:
- Your Uber driver’s contact and insurance information,
- The other driver’s contact information and insurance information,
- Any other passenger’s contact information, and
- Any eyewitness contact information.
At that point, you have all the information you need to begin untangling the knot of who was responsible and who pays for your injuries.
When Does Uber Pay?
Your Uber driver is more than likely not an Uber employee but rather an independent contractor. That means, generally, that Uber is not liable for your driver’s actions. Uber has worked hard to preserve this distinction, and at times failed. Why does that matter? Because you first need to seek compensation from your Uber driver and their insurance policy before you turn to Uber itself. Uber maintains a $1 million general liability policy, and that policy should pay for any shortfalls that your driver’s policy doesn’t cover. Since your driver is an independent contractor, you will have a very difficult time holding Uber directly responsible for your driver’s actions. Therefore, consider the following actions.
If Your Driver Is At Fault
Like a normal car accident, focus on your driver and their insurance policy. If your driver’s insurance doesn’t cover your injuries and damages, then you can turn to Uber and their policy. However, you must first maximize your recovery, or lack of recovery, from your Uber driver.
If the Other Driver Is At Fault
Again, treat this situation as a normal car accident. Focus on the other driver and their insurance policy. If their insurance is insufficient, or they do not have insurance, Uber maintains a $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for third parties (i.e., you). But first, you need to exhaust the other driver’s insurance resources.
Going Directly After Uber
As mentioned above, Uber works very hard to maintain separation from its drivers, and the primary way to do that is through robustly enforcing their driver’s independent contractor status. So while you could go after Uber directly for its driver’s actions, keep in mind that the law is muddy and complex for ridesharing liability and Uber works very hard to separate itself from its driver’s actions. Getting in contact with an experienced Uber accident law firm can be extremely helpful after being involved in an accident.
Uber is a big and successful company, and you might find yourself up against them. To prepare for that situation be thorough in your information gathering and in going after the responsible driver who caused your injuries. If their resources and insurance coverage is not enough, then look to Uber to fill the gap with their policies. But to be successful, you first need to be thorough.