Uber recently celebrated its sixth anniversary and is steadily gaining more recognition around the country. Roughly 15 percent of Americans have used ridesharing services such as Uber or Lyft, according to Pew Research Center. And while Uber has actually decreased traffic fatalities by approximately 17 percent each year (according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), accidents still do happen and when they do, recovering injury compensation can be quite tricky.
Because ridesharing is a relatively new industry, the regulations are still evolving and accident claims can get slightly complicated. For a free consultation with an Uber accident and injury lawyer in Pittsburgh, call Berger and Green at 412-661-1400.
How does insurance work with Uber accidents?
Uber requires all of its drivers to carry personal auto insurance, but the company has a good backup insurance policy in place for extra protection. Uber has a $1 million policy with James River Insurance Company that covers Uber drivers’ liability.
When an Uber driver causes an accident, Uber’s insurer will pay out up to $1 million per accident for the victims’ damages. The policy will also kick in if an uninsured or underinsured motorist causes the accident. However, whether Uber pays depends on whether or not you are on the app.
Let us explain. Uber insurance covers your damages in an accident, but only while the app is on. Uber’s coverage depends what period the driver was in:
- Period 1: The driver is on the app, but has not accepted a fare
- Period 2: The driver has matched with a rider and is driving to pick up said rider
- Period 3: The driver has a rider in the car
Uber’s $1 million policy only covers the driver in periods 2 and 3.
Uber will cover a driver in Period 1 only if the driver does not have insurance or if the driver’s insurance refuses to cover the accident. Uber’s Period 1 contingency policy is $50,000 injury, $100,000 total, and $25,000 for property damage.
What are my legal options after an Uber accident?
Your options after an Uber accident depend on two factors: your role (e.g., driver, passenger, or third party) and which party caused the accident. Generally, the party that caused the accident is liable for damages. There are several potential scenarios:
Third party liability: If another driver was at fault and hit the Uber car you were riding in, you can file a claim with that party’s insurance company. This applies for both Uber drivers and passengers. If that driver has no or too little insurance to cover your losses, then Uber insurance will likely cover you.
Uber liability: If the Uber driver causes the accident, then you can file claim with Uber’s insurance company. This is true whether you are an Uber passenger, an occupant of another car, or a pedestrian or cyclist.
Uber drivers’ options: Uber accidents are probably most complicated for the rideshare drivers.
- Scenario A: If your accident occurred while off duty, you will need to file a claim with either the at-fault party’s insurer or your own insurer.
- Scenario B: If you were on duty (the app was on) when the accident occurred, Uber insurance will kick in, but as we stated above, the period will affect compensation amounts.
- Scenario C: In the rare cases in which a passenger causes an Uber driver harm, such in assault cases, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit against that passenger. Ask your attorney for more detailed information.
What types of complications might occur with Uber accident cases?
As aforementioned, this is a new industry so the players have yet to work out all of the legal kinks. One of the first hurdles will be to determine fault/liability and file the claim with the appropriate insurance company. It is not uncommon for liability to become a bit convoluted with these types of cases. The involved parties or their insurers may disagree with fault and which party should pay for damages. This can result in long, drawn out cases and delayed payments.
TIP: If possible, collect as much evidence at the scene as possible for later use to speed up your case. Get involved parties’ and witnesses’ contact information, take photos, etc. And do not admit to any fault. You do not have to lose your cool and blame others, but you do not need to fall on that sword, either.
Another thing you should prepare yourself for is proving your damages. While most of your expenses and losses are recoverable, no insurance company will compensate you without evidence that verifies your damages.
You can use items such as medical bills, receipts, doctors’ prognoses, professional estimates, photos of injuries and vehicle damage, proof of lost wages, etc.
It is important to make sure you have accounted for all of your damages — both current and projected — prior to settling your claim. Once you sign a settlement offer from an insurer you cannot go back and ask for more funds later if your injury worsens.
How do I get started with my Uber accident claim?
Before filing a claim or taking any legal action, consider running your case by our Uber accident and injury attorney in Pittsburgh. We offer free case evaluations for anyone involved in an Uber accident, including drivers, passengers, and third parties. We can help you navigate the confusing insurance policies, prove liability, and pursue the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
In cases that we cannot settle amicably, we can take the case to court and pursue a maximum award on your behalf. Recovering sizeable settlements and verdicts for our clients is what our team at Berger and Green does best.
In fact, our attorneys are members of a national trial lawyers’ organization, The Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Only lawyers who have won million dollar or multi-million dollar settlements or verdicts for their clients can be part of this elite group.
Call Berger and Green a free consultation at 412-661-1400.