Ride sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way we look at private transportation across the country. It has also created a legal tangle that is often difficult to unravel if you are involved in an accident while in an Uber vehicle. Before you get inside of your next Uber, here is what you need to know about the company’s accident policy.
1. Uber drivers are required to carry their own insurance.
As a condition of their contract, Uber drivers are required to carry their own automobile insurance with collision coverage in order to be covered under Uber’s insurance policy. When a driver is online but before they pick up a driver, they are covered for any liability to a third party if they are in an accident and they are at fault. In other words, let’s say your Uber driver swerves to avoid hitting a dog, jumps the curb, and runs into someone’s fence. Uber’s insurance policy will pay to have the fence replaced since the driver was online and on their way to pick someone up. However, Uber’s coverage is only in effect if the driver maintains their own auto insurance. This is so the driver’s insurance can pay out first before Uber’s.
2. Medical bills may be covered under Uber’s insurance policy.
Remember how Uber’s insurance policy covers drivers who have accepted a ride, before they pick up the rider? This coverage extends to any medical expenses covered due to an accident the Uber driver causes before they pick up a rider. However, if someone is at fault, Uber will require the at-fault party and driver’s insurance to cover any expenses before they will pay out any money.
3. Uber designates drivers as independent contractors on purpose.
Uber designates all drivers as independent contractors, not employees. The reasons for this designation are wide and varied. As independent contractors, Uber drivers can contract with both Uber and Lyft to make more money. Uber does not have to pay benefits to independent contractors. And since they are not employees, insurance coverage for the behavior of their drivers is limited. As a result, suing Uber outright when you are in an accident, even a serious one may not be a possibility unless they were grossly negligent about contracting with an inept or criminal driver.
4. Do not accept any money until you have spoken with an attorney.
The goal of any insurance company is to pay out as little as possible, as quickly as possible. Speaking with an attorney before speaking with an insurance company, especially in the case of an Uber or Lyft accident, will greatly improve the likelihood of receiving a fair payout for any damages or medical bills. If you are in an Uber accident, you are encouraged to use the in-app reporting feature. While this certainly streamlines the process for Uber, making it easier to create a record of what happened, it also gives the company information that may be used against you in the future. Stick to the facts, do not speculate on your condition and allow an attorney to walk you through the rest. Contact the Uber and Lyft accident lawyers at The Elan Law Firm today!