Who is Liable After an Uber Accident?
Car accidents are already a legally complicated issue whenever they occur. The matter becomes even more complex when the car accident involves a car driven by someone working for a ride-sharing service at that time. Here is an overview of who is generally liable in an Uber accident in a variety of circumstances in comparison to more conventional car wrecks
A General Overview
Uber accidents can injure pedestrians, another driver or the passenger or a combination of all three. The driver of the car is often liable for the accident. An Uber driver will often be liable for the accident just as they would if they weren’t carrying a passenger for pay. If someone else hit the Uber vehicle, the other driver’s insurance policy should cover the damages whether or not there is a passenger in the vehicle. If the Uber driver is at fault, then liability is more complicated.
Liability When the Driver Is on the Clock
Uber drivers will be covered by Uber’s commercial vehicle insurance policy if transporting an Uber passenger. This policy is only in effect when the Uber driver is “on the clock”. Yet that commercial policy might not be in effect, such as when someone is driving for personal reasons like driving the Uber vehicle home. If the driver is waiting for a fare, commercial auto insurance may cover the claim.
If an Uber driver is in an accident, the injured party can sue the Uber driver and file a claim against their commercial auto insurance.
Liability When the Driver Is Not on the Clock
Uber drivers are required to have car insurance that meets minimum liability limits. This auto insurance is what will cover damages if the driver was not on the clock for Uber.
If there is no passenger in the vehicle and an Uber driver hits a pedestrian, contingent insurance may apply.
What to Do If You’re in an Accident
Questions about liability arise when there is an accident involving an Uber driver. Many of those involved are unsure whether the Uber driver or Uber is liable. However, that isn’t something you should try to figure out in the aftermath of an accident.
If you are in an accident involving an Uber vehicle, collect as much information as possible. Get the driver’s name and the passenger’s name. Uber accident liability may hinge on whether or not the victim in the vehicle was a paying customer at the time. Try to collect contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
Steps to Protect Yourself
Review the driver’s ratings before you hire them. See if there are complaints against them, including their driving and verify the driver’s identity. Verifying this information ensures you do not get in the car with a fake Uber driver while guaranteeing you have the right information in case there is an accident.
Auto accident liability is a complicated matter, and drivers working part-time as taxi services only make the waters murkier. If you are in an auto accident, gather as much information as possible to determine whose insurance is likely to cover the damages.