Uber launched the ride sharing phenomenon in 2009. Now valued at nearly $70 billion, it accounts for 77% of the ridesharing market in the United States. Riding an Uber is a popular way to get around, but it doesn’t come without risks. As with any form of transportation, there is the potential for accidents, and victims of an Uber crash have rights. Our Los Angeles Uber passenger accident attorney can help navigate the many tactics insurance companies use to avoid liability.
Uber Drivers: Contractors or Employees?
Drivers of Uber vehicles are independent contractors. They can choose to work when they want to, and each owns their own vehicle. Basically, a driver clocks into work by turning on their app. This has implications in terms of liability and insurance coverage at different times and whether the driver is working or not. The California Labor Commissioner has maintained that Uber drivers are employees, but the company still insists they’re contractors.
A smartphone app allows you to select a destination and where you want to be picked up. If an Uber driver is nearby, they can respond to your request. Wait time is usually just minutes and your driver will take you to your desired destination. If you’re in an automobile accident involving an Uber, pinning liability can be complex, but our Uber accident lawyer in Los Angeles & Orange County can help gather the evidence and substantiate your claim, as Uber drivers have a duty to ensure their passengers’ safety.
Uber Accident Statistics
There have been several fatal accidents involving Uber vehicles. In 2013, a six-year-old girl was killed in San Francisco after being hit by a driver. In September 2018, two people were killed when their Uber vehicle was hit by a wrong-way motorist on the 210 Freeway in the Los Angeles area. Although the Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York City claims more Uber drivers than yellow cab drivers have been involved in deadly crashes, other studies have not found Uber vehicles to be more dangerous.
Accidents can occur if an Uber driver is distracted, another vehicle is hit by that driver, or the driver hits a pedestrian or bicyclist. Someone else’s negligence can cause the Uber driver to be injured. A passenger injured inside the vehicle faces many legal complexities, especially those involving insurance companies and liability coverage.
Drivers are covered by a $1 million liability policy. The company also provides uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Insurance coverage applies while the passenger is in the vehicle, and they are covered unless proven the cause of an accident that resulted in their injuries.
An Uber driver is required to have a personal auto insurance policy if using their own vehicle. The company’s coverage kicks in only when their app is in driver mode and fares are being accepted. California law has divided rideshare insurance coverage into three periods:
Period 1: An active driver has opened the app and is waiting for a passenger. The company must provide coverage of $200,000 in liability insurance for a driver, $100,000 in death/personal injury coverage per incident, and $50,000 for death or personal injury per person.
Period 2: The driver has accepted a request but hasn’t picked up the passenger, and is driving to their location. Commercial insurance coverage of $1 million kicks in.
Period 3: The time the passenger is in the vehicle. During this period, the company must provide $1 million of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Get out of danger and, if injured, contact the police and call 9-1-1. Share insurance information with other drivers, contact your insurance company, and collect as much evidence as you can. Contact an Uber accident attorney as soon as possible.
File a police report and seek immediate medical attention. The more accurate your records are, the easier it is to establish that the driver is liable. Always makes sure you contact a pedestrian accident attorney who can help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
If the accident occurred while you were in Period 2, take a screenshot of the app to prove it. Contact Uber’s emergency hotline if you were online; if you were waiting for a ride request at the time of the accident, contact your personal insurance company. Also, record everything using your phone camera, audio, and notetaking app.
Call 9-1-1 if you or anyone else is injured and collect photographs and other evidence at the scene. If the police respond, get a copy of the police report. Contact your insurance company and a Los Angeles personal injury attorney as fast as possible.
You will not be permitted to accept passengers during the company’s investigation. Uber will investigate the damage to your vehicle and review the facts of the accident, which can take several weeks. More than three citations or at-fault accidents in a five-year period will get you terminated.
In California, commercial drivers working as independent contractors are typically liable. If you’ve been injured in an Uber crash, contact our Uber accident lawyers in Los Angeles & Orange County right away to review your case and focus on your settlement.
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