Does Uber Cover Accidents?

los angeles auto accident lawyers

Rideshare services like Uber have become increasingly popular in recent years, providing a convenient and often cost-effective way to get around town. But what happens if an accident occurs during your Uber ride? Does Uber offer any sort of coverage or protection? In this post, our Los Angeles auto accident lawyers discuss insurance coverage provided by Uber and what drivers and passengers should be aware of in an accident.

A claim involving a ridesharing accident is different from a regular car accident. But first things first, let’s define ridesharing.

What is ridesharing?

Even though the term “ridesharing” may sound like a fad, it is rapidly becoming an integral part of the conventional transportation system. You can download an app that connects you with drivers who offer ridesharing services to catch a ride in a car that isn’t your own. Uber Technologies Inc is the most popular ridesharing service, followed by Lyft.

Did you know that California was the first state to legalize TNCs and is the birthplace of several prominent ridesharing companies?

How is a ridesharing service different from a taxi?

Taxis are typically owned, inspected, and maintained by the taxi business, with the driver simply leasing one. Taxi drivers usually need a special license from the city or county where they operate, which isn’t the case for Uber drivers.

With the rideshare system, you won’t have to wait in a long line of waiting for Uber. To go where you’re going instead, use the app to “call” a vehicle with your pickup location, number of passengers, and other information. For those who want a low-emissions trip, Uber offers special services like Uber Green.

Consult our Los Angeles auto accident lawyers if you need help filing a lawsuit against Uber or other ridesharing companies.

Types of rideshare car accidents

There are four main types of personal injury claims that can involve Uber and other rideshare vehicles:

  • During a ridesharing ride, a passenger was hurt.
  • Getting hurt as a rideshare driver
  • Another driver was hurt in a collision involving a ridesharing vehicle.
  • A ridesharing vehicle on its way to pick up a fare collides with another car, injuring the passengers inside.

Many people file complaints against rideshare drivers, claiming they were distracted by their phones while driving from one pickup to another.

Real-life example 

A car driven by Syed Muzzafar hit and killed Sofia Liu near the intersection of Polk and Ellis streets at around 8 p.m. on December 31. She was strolling with her mother and brother. Muzzafar was looking at or interacting with his UberX app on his phone when the accident occurred. 

The Uber driver was not carrying a passenger when he hit the young girl, but he was using the app to travel to his next fare. The girl’s family brought a wrongful death case against Uber. Although the company denied any wrongdoing, it compensated the deceased’s family.

Accidents happen in Ubers, just like in any other car. Certain drivers will likely be let go by ridesharing providers after consistently causing accidents. However, accidents can happen to even the most careful drivers.

When are Uber drivers liable?

Rideshare drivers are independent contractors with contracts with the company they work for. They have to meet certain requirements and keep their cars in a certain way, but they are not employees.

Most independent contractors in California are not covered by their employers’ workers’ compensation policies. Depending on the terms of the agreement, an independent contractor may be mandated to purchase insurance. A judge will consider many variables when deciding whether or not an organization must provide insurance for a contractor.

Most contracts state that an independent contractor must pay for their general liability insurance. However, in California, ridesharing services must offer their drivers supplementary insurance.

When a driver activates their ridesharing app in California, the legislation activates additional insurance obligations. If a driver is not working as a rideshare driver, they can rely on their own auto insurance, plus any supplemental collision or personal liability coverage they may have.

But as soon as they enable the app and are accessible to give rides, they are protected by the firm’s insurance. California mandates minimum coverage limits that are time-bound.

  • Period 0

For example, when a rideshare driver’s app is not operational (inactive). They drive as if they were a regular citizen, and their employment with the ride-sharing firm is irrelevant to their actions.

The following types of liability coverage are required for all drivers in California.

  • $15,000 in medical expenses and lost wages for each accident victim.
  • $30,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage
  • $5,000 in property damage per collision

The onus of ensuring this coverage is in place rests squarely on the driver.

  • Period 1 

Period 1 is when the driver is in standby mode. The driver has activated the ridesharing app, which is accessible for riders, but no passenger has been matched with them.

Once more, it is the driver’s responsibility to maintain the required level of insurance. In Period 1, however, Uber drivers are covered by the company’s insurance if their policies will only pay in full.

Uber’s insurance policy protects you and your property up to $25,000.

  • Periods 2 and 3

This happens when a passenger is in the car, and the driver has a passenger. The ridesharing service in California has a $1 million insurance policy that protects the driver and the passenger throughout periods 2 and 3.

How a ridesharing passenger should handle an accident

If you’re a ride-sharing passenger and you get harmed, you’ll follow the same procedures as you would if you were hurt in any other car accident in California. According to the best car accident attorney Los Angeles, the laws that apply to the other driver in a ride-sharing accident also apply in the event of an accident.

When an emergency arises, dial 9-1-1 immediately. No matter the minor injuries, you should always report the incident to the authorities. Since Uber uses  GPS every t track rides in real-time, the company knows everything about the car, including the exact location of the accident.

However, your driver’s initial step will be to contact their insurance carrier. Since this is an accident, you should collect the usual details:

  • Driver’s full name
  • Driver details, such as an address, email, and phone
  • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
  • Documentation about a vehicle’s registration and insurance coverage.

You should also document the witnesses and how to contact them if there are any. Gather all the information at the site, including photographs of the vehicles, the road, the weather, and any relevant street signs.

As quickly as possible, report the incident to your insurance company. Upon receiving a claim from you, your insurer will initiate a claim with the other driver’s insurance provider. This is an “easy lift” for insurance companies because passengers rarely incur claims.

After you report a claim to your insurer, they will investigate who is liable. Claims adjusters must determine who is responsible when more than one vehicle is involved in an accident, such as when a ridesharing vehicle collides with another vehicle. The negligent motorist will be responsible for covering your claim’s costs.

Is it harder to file a claim for a rideshare accident than for a regular car accident?

Sadly, that’s the case sometimes. Submitting a claim after a car accident should be similar to filing a claim after any other type of accident. However, dealing with a firm is nearly always more difficult than dealing with a person.

You may need to file a claim with the driver’s auto insurance, the ridesharing company’s insurance, or both, depending on the extent of the losses.

Suppose your insurance company is having difficulties processing your claim, or the settlement offer doesn’t fully compensate you for your losses. In that case, you should contact auto accident lawyers Los Angeles for assistance.

Whether or not the driver was using a ridesharing service at the time of the accident can affect how your insurance carrier handles your accident claim. If the accident occurred during Period 0, when the driver was driving for personal reasons unrelated to providing ridesharing services, the situation is treated like any other traffic collision. 

But if they were picking up a passenger or already had one in the car, they are protected by higher liability insurance.

The Point Law Group is a good place to seek legal representation after an automobile accident in California. It’s the most reliable method of recovering compensation for things like medical expenses, property loss, missed wages, and emotional distress.

Categories: Blog, Uber accident
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