An Uber does not seem particularly different than a traditional taxi to riders. In both, riders pay for someone to drive them from place A to place B. The phone app that allows riders to request a car used to set the service apart, but now taxi services are also developing apps for riders to hail cabs. But Uber and other ride-sharing services are fundamentally different than taxi services. A taxi service employs individuals to drive taxis – vehicles used for work. Uber allows independent contractors to use their own vehicles to drive others around and make extra cash. Riders may not notice a difference, but the ride-sharing business model is entirely different from taxi companies.
If you were hit by a taxi driver in his or her cab, you are hit by an employee of a company. This is true even if the driver owns his cab through a small corporation or LLC and is the only employee. In almost all cases, you will work with the company’s insurance or sue the business directly to recover damages. You would only sue the driver in special circumstances. However, if an Uber driver hits you, he or she is not an employee of Uber. He or she is an independent contractor, which means there may be some confusion as to whose insurance will cover your damage – the driver’s or Uber’s? The answer is: it depends.
If you have been in an auto accident with an Uber or other ride-sharing vehicle, call the experienced Charlotte car accident lawyers at Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. right away. Instead of trying to navigate the complicated insurance situation alone, a lawyer can investigate your situation and help you make the appropriate third-party claims. If an insurance settlement is not possible, the attorneys of Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. will help you recover in court.
When to Use the Uber Driver’s Insurance
If you are hit by an Uber driver is who is completely off duty, he or she is not signed in to accept Uber riders at the time, then the accident is simply between you and another driver. Even if the car has the Uber logo on the windshield, if the driver is not currently working, then the driver is the only party responsible for the damages he or she caused you. You will want to exchange information with the driver, including getting his or her auto insurance information.
However, if the Uber driver is signed in to work, then where he or she is in terms of having a rider or not can affect the insurance situation. You will still want to gather the driver’s insurance information, but you should also ask for Uber’s contact and insurance information. Depending on if the driver is available, is on his or her way to pick someone up, or if there is a rider in the car, the driver’s insurance may be your primary coverage or Uber may have some insurance coverage available. You may even have to file third-party claims against both insurers.
But be aware, a third-party claim with the driver’s insurance may be denied if driver was working at the time of the accident. Some auto insurance policies do not cover accidents that occurred when a driver was using his or her vehicle to carry other people for a fee.
When Uber’s Insurance is Available
Uber’s level of insurance depends on where the driver is in the ride-sharing process. Uber offers liability insurance for its drivers and anyone they may hurt but not all the time. Insurance for Uber drivers is staggered such as:
- Driver is offline: No liability insurance coverage from Uber. Only the driver’s personal auto insurance applies.
- Driver is online: When a worker is signed into Uber and available to take a rider, but does not currently have a passenger in the vehicle, then Uber’s liability insurance covers up to $50,000 for injury, $100 total, and $25,000 in property damage. This is used when the driver does not have enough insurance to cover the damage, so it may be used as a secondary policy. The driver’s policy may be used as the primary policy by the victim.
- Driver has accept a ride request: When a driver as accepted a customer’s request and is on the way to pick that person up, Uber’s $1 million liability policy kicks in. In addition to the liability insurance, Uber provides contingent collision and comprehensive insurance as well as $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist injury coverage.
- Driver has a passenger: Uber’s $1 million liability, $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist injury, and contingent collision and comprehensive applies when there is a customer in the vehicle during the accident.
What to Do if You Are in an Accident With an Uber
If you are in an accident with someone you believe to be an Uber driver, ask for both personal and Uber insurance information. It is best to gather as much contact information as possible.
Like in any accident, you should document as much of the damage as you can. Take pictures and video of the vehicle’s damage and any surrounding property damage with your phone. Make sure to take pictures from multiple angles and distances. These photos may be used as proof of damages for an insurance or court case later.
Call the police in order to file an accident report. This can be crucial for an insurance claim or lawsuit because the police may find the other driver guilty of a traffic violation. If the other driver is ticketed, this may help you prove fault in the future.
You may also ask if the driver is currently signed in to Uber and if he or she has a passenger in the car. This basic knowledge can let you know if Uber’s insurance may or may not be available.
Why You Should Call a Charlotte Auto Accident Attorney
It is possible that the Uber driver will not know how the insurance situation works either. He or she may have no idea if his or her personal auto policy will cover the accident or if Uber’s insurance is available. Do not worry about asking the driver about insurance. Instead, contact an experienced Charlotte Uber accident attorney like those at Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A.. A lawyer is the best person to analyze the situation and determine which insurance is liable under the law and the specific insurance policies.