If you have been in an accident involving an Uber driver, or if you were in an accident while riding in an Uber, you do have legal options. As with any car accident, there are various elements, circumstances, and laws that dictate what kind of legal action you are able to pursue. Since Uber drivers are independent contractors, it is extremely difficult to sue Uber directly, but you can sue an Uber driver. In most cases, suing the driver is no different than filing a lawsuit against any other negligent motorist.
Understanding Uber’s Liability in a Rideshare Accident
There are several legal complexities that surround Uber’s liability in an accident. Since Uber drivers are independent contractors and not Uber employees, Uber is able to distance itself from being liable in a rideshare accident. However, there are a number of circumstances that can affect who is responsible for damages.
The legal landscape of addressing accidents involving rideshare companies is complex. If you have been hurt in an accident involving a rideshare company, it is best to contact a car accident attorney that can help you understand your rights and options to pursue a claim.
Uber’s Liability Coverage
Uber does provide insurance to their drivers but only when they are active on a trip request. From the moment they tap “GO” in the app, Uber drivers are insured while waiting for a trip request, while they are driving to pick up a rider, and until the trip ends. This insurance includes the delivery of goods as well. Uber’s liability coverage can vary by location and are subject to change.
Uber’s Limited Liability
Since Uber drivers are independent contractors, there are several nuances to the coverage that Uber provides its drivers. For example, if the driver was not using the app correctly, or if a third party was at fault for the accident. As a company, Uber has clauses and arguments that limit its direct liability in the case of an accident. All Uber drivers must maintain their own insurance policy in accordance with their local and state laws.
How Uber’s Insurance Policy Applies to Your Accident
As with any car accident, the circumstances determine how insurance policies apply and what kind of legal action you are able to take. In the case of a rideshare accident, there are many different scenarios that can occur.
The Driver Is “Off the Clock”
If you are in an accident with an Uber driver who is “off the clock” and not actively available to accept fares, then Uber’s insurance does not apply. Typically in this case, you would be suing the driver as an individual. This would be treated as any other car accident, using that driver’s personal insurance coverage.
The Driver Is on the Clock, But Between Fares
Uber’s insurance coverage extends to the driver as soon as they login to their app and are “on the clock”. Even if they haven’t accepted a ride yet, but are actively seeking a prospective fare, Uber will provide coverage. However, there are certain contingencies in this case and the driver’s insurance may still be held responsible.
The Driver Is Carrying a Passenger
If the driver is carrying a passenger at the time of an accident, there is comprehensive insurance coverage provided by Uber. In this case, Uber will put its full weight in coverage behind the driver which includes liability and damages. As with all of the circumstances we’ve covered so far, the compensation you can draw depends on numerous factors.
In order to ensure that you receive full compensation in any of these scenarios, it is crucial that you speak with a knowledgeable car accident attorney who can navigate the nuances of each situation.
How Do You Prove Whether an Uber Driver Was Available for Rides at the Time of the Accident?
As with any car accident, you should always exchange information with the other driver once everyone is out of harm’s way, take photos, and document any other information at the scene. In the case of an accident involving an Uber driver, there is no definitive way to know what the driver’s status was in the app when the accident occurred. In most cases, your attorney will be able to get a definitive answer from Uber whether or not the driver was available for rides at the time of the accident. This is why it is imperative to seek legal assistance in these circumstances. Your attorney can obtain conclusive information and evidence to support your case.
Your Rights Regarding Uber Driver Liability
In summary, you do have rights to sue an Uber driver for liability and damages in a car accident. Remember that laws and regulations vary by location, so it is best to consult with a car accident attorney to know your full rights and determine the amount of compensation that you deserve.
You Have the Right to Sue an Uber Driver
- In the majority of cases involving an accident with an Uber driver, you have the same rights as you would in any car accident. Since South Carolina is an “at-fault” state, if you have been in an accident due to the negligence of another driver, whether they are a rideshare driver or not, you have the right to pursue legal action.
You Cannot Sue Uber Directly
- It is extremely difficult to sue Uber directly since their drivers are classified as independent contractors instead of employees. While Uber maintains commercial auto insurance for its drivers under specific circumstances, drivers are still required to carry their own coverage. In most cases, the driver will be held responsible, not Uber.
Entitlement to Benefits Through Uber’s Insurance Policy
- Even though direct lawsuits against Uber are limited, injured parties can still seek benefits through the coverage that Uber provides. As this varies depending on local laws and regulations, and the stage of the rideshare trip at the time of the accident, it is important to consult with a car accident attorney to understand what you are entitled to.
Can You Sue an Uber Driver if You’re a Passenger Who’s Injured?
- If you are injured while riding in an Uber, you can sue the driver and/or Uber. However, you should consult with an expert accident attorney as they will be able to guide you on how to pursue legal action and what financial compensation amount you are able to claim. Since a lawsuit against Uber itself is difficult to pursue, having legal representation will ensure you get the best possible outcome in your claim.
Can You Sue an Uber Driver Who Causes an Accident if You’re Not a Passenger?
- Yes, if you were in another vehicle that was involved in an accident with an Uber driver, or if you were a pedestrian hit by an Uber driver, you can file a lawsuit. However, the action you can take will be dependent on the driver’s status at the time of the accident (whether they were on or off the clock) and what the circumstances of the accident were.
Steps to Take Following Your Uber Accident
Immediately following an accident, you should always call 911 so that the police can report to the scene, file an accident report, and conduct an investigation. If you are injured, or even if you do not think you are, you should always get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible following the accident. If able, take pictures and collect information at the scene as well as this will be helpful to your attorney later on in building your case.
There are many different outcomes to car accident settlements, whether they involve an rideshare driver, or not. As stated previously, accidents involving a rideshare driver are complex to navigate and legal action is best pursued with the assistance of an attorney. If you have been in an accident involving Uber or another rideshare company, contact our expert car accident attorneys at the Philpot Law Firm immediately for a free consultation on your case.
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