Today, Uber carries a significant, $1 million insurance policy with various rules for drivers, passengers, and third parties. The coverage depends on the driver’s availability status and actions at the time of the accident.
Car Accidents Involving Ride-Share Services Such as Uber or Lyft Are on the Rise. How a case is handled Depends on Many Factors, Including Where the Accident Happened
The advent of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft have raised new questions for car accident litigation: who is liable? Car accidents in an Uber, Lyft, or other ride-share vehicle are individual cases with their own set of rules and circumstances.
Uber, Lyft, and similar apps, as well as insurance companies, have one central goal: to maximize profits. They want to avoid paying out insurance policies and compensation whenever possible. Insurance companies will do everything they can to fight claims made against them. Since these companies retain large teams of legal experts, they have an enormous advantage. To fight these big companies and get the compensation you deserve, you need a personal injury lawyer who understands your rights and will fight for them with the same level of expertise.
Uber vs. Taxis: Legal Differences
States clarify ride-sharing services like Uber as “technology companies.” This classification means they are not necessarily subject to the same regulations as transportation services. As drivers of private cars, we are typically held liable if we are negligent and cause an accident.
Taxi companies often bear liability for their drivers.
Uber and Lyft vehicles and drivers are regulated differently than traditional taxi services since their cars are owned and operated by their drivers. Uber drivers are not employees, but independent contractors—a strategic move designed to allow the company to distance itself from the actions of its drivers and deny liability. In the past, Uber has attempted to take the corporate stance that they are merely a platform that connects independent-contractor drivers with riders. They don’t want to bear the responsibility for accidents caused by distracted, incompetent, or scofflaw drivers, or by poorly maintained vehicles.
A series of highly publicized accidents and lawsuits has led Uber to fold a “safe ride fee” into the cost of an Uber ride. This fee ostensibly covers the costs of various safety measures, including background checks, vehicle screenings, and safety education courses for their drivers.
Driver Has “Not Available” Status
If an Uber driver is using their vehicle for personal purposes and is not available to pick up passengers, only their private insurance policy and New York state law will apply. Uber claims no responsibility.
Driver Available, but not Carrying Passengers
If the driver is available to pick up passengers but is not carrying anyone when they get in an accident, both the driver’s insurance and Uber’s policy come into play. The driver’s insurance will cover most of the damages. At the same time, Uber provides additional contingency liability coverage up to $50,000 per injury (to a maximum of $100,000), and up to $25,000 in property damages.
Legal Assistance from a personal injury lawyer can help you take advantage of this coverage, which is only available upon request, and only if the driver’s private insurance doesn’t provide adequate coverage.
Driver Available and Carrying Passengers
If the Uber driver is carrying a passenger and gets into an accident, the passengers, the driver, and any injured third parties are all covered under Uber’s $1 million liability policy. If the driver is uninsured, Uber has a separate insurance policy for these damages as well.
Legal Status & Precedents
Uber’s adoption of a broad insurance policy seems reassuring, but the legal status of Uber’s corporate responsibility of severe accidents is still evolving. There have been various lawsuits against the company throughout the country. There has been no determination as to the final assignment of liability that will apply to all scenarios. Even though the company now carries a hefty insurance policy, case after case has shown that battling Uber in court is a tough fight. Uber’s insurance policy’s carrier is dedicated to resisting pay-outs on as many claims as possible. Getting compensation from any insurance company is challenging. That is all the more true for companies like Uber and Lyft that want to refuse liability and maximize profits whenever possible.
Call the Law Offices of Marc S. Albert for a Free Consultation
If a car accident has left you with injuries, you will need guidance from an attorney to get the support you need. Marc Albert has been litigating car accident cases for the entirety of his 25-year career and has successfully handled every kind of vehicle accident, including ride-sharing accidents.
For more information, please contact the Law Offices of Marc S. Albert today to schedule your free consultation. Marc Albert serves clients throughout the New York City metropolitan area from his offices in Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Call us any time of the day or night at 855-252-3788. He’ll make sure you don’t miss any of the critical legal deadlines, and that you receive the medical benefits you are entitled to under the law, and fair compensation for medical bills, lost income, and related damages.