Car accidents have a way of sending you into a tailspin – in the best of times. When the accident is caused by a negligent Uber driver (or any other kind of rideshare driver), it adds an additional layer of complication. Let's face it; things are difficult enough without these mega-companies getting in the middle. If you have been injured in a car accident involving an Uber, understanding the basics can help.
Your Claim: It Is Complicated
If the Uber driver’s negligence caused you to be injured, it may be appropriate to file your claim directly with the rideshare company, but – naturally – it is complicated. Uber’s drivers are independent contractors for one very good reason – to help Uber avoid liability. Nevertheless, there are certain instances in which Uber itself offers insurance coverage for third parties (after facing legal pressure to do so). If you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver – and that motorist is an Uber driver – your claim is a third-party claim because you are filing under insurance coverage that is not your own.
In the following situations, Uber will likely accept your third-party claim (although this does not necessarily mean that their coverage will fully compensate you):
- The negligent Uber driver was logged in on the Uber app – in other words, he or she was on the clock – when the accident happened. It is not necessary for said driver to have passengers at the time; the important thing is that he or she was logged in.
- The negligent driver was logged in on Uber and was carrying passengers at the time of the accident.
Depending upon the circumstances, Uber offers different total coverage limitations, and in some situations, Uber’s coverage does not kick in until the driver’s personal coverage has been exhausted. In other words, the process can be labyrinthian.
Off the Clock Drivers
If the negligent Uber driver is off the clock – is not on the Uber app – at the time of the accident, that driver reverts to the status of any other driver, and you will follow the same procedure you would follow in any other car accident (filing a third-party claim with his or her insurance company). The difference here is that rideshare drivers are known to dip in and out of their rideshare apps – often toggling back and forth between driving for rival rideshare companies. If you have been injured by a negligent Uber driver, there is obviously a lot to unpack, and you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney.