When people think of ridesharing, Uber is the first brand name that comes to mind. It’s used by people all over the world daily because it’s convenient. What do you do, though, if your Uber driver is in an accident that leaves you with injuries? What if you’re driving your vehicle and an Uber driver hits you? Fortunately for either case, Uber does carry insurance that protects its drivers, their passengers, other drivers, and even pedestrians and people riding bicycles.
However, just like other insurance companies, those that cover Uber will not want to pay out any sum of money if they can avoid it. You may have to hire a personal injury lawyer to take both the driver and Uber itself to court to receive the compensation you’re due. This guide will help you understand how a case against an Uber driver works and what you can do to win such a case.
Do You Sue Uber or the Driver?
One of the first questions you may have if you’ve been in an accident and have not received the compensation you believe you deserve is who you have to take to court.
Do you sue Uber, or do you pursue a case against the driver personally and their auto insurance company? Because ridesharing has become more popular lately, many personal auto insurance policies now explicitly state that they do not cover accidents that occur while driving for commercial purposes or hire.
Generally, you will need to sue Uber and the driver. In most cases, Uber drivers are insured for a substantial amount of third-party liability while a passenger is in their vehicle or when the driver is on their way to pick up a passenger. If the driver does not have a passenger or is not matched with a passenger, Uber’s coverage is very limited.
If another driver were at-fault, their insurance would be the one you need to communicate with. However, Uber also has insurance that applies to you as a passenger if the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured. One essential part of your case will be determining who is at-fault and having proof to back up this claim.
If the Uber driver hit you while you were driving, walking, cycling, etc., you may also be able to sue Uber and the driver. Uber maintains various levels of liability insurance for these types of accidents.
If the driver was not using the Uber app, you will have to sue the driver and make a claim against their insurance company. If they were waiting for a request, Uber does not cover the driver with as much insurance as they would if they had a passenger in the car or were in-route to a passenger’s location. Keep this in mind when attempting to collect insurance money from Uber.
Follow the Same Steps As You Would After Any Accident
You should follow the same steps as any other car accident if you’re in an accident as a passenger in an Uber. First, make sure you’re okay. If you’re not—for example, if you’re bleeding or cannot move a limb or have any other body pain—it may be better for you to remain where you are unless you are in immediate danger.
If you are injured, it’s best to call 911 so an ambulance can come and provide medical attention. If you are sure you are okay and can move, make certain the driver and anyone else in the vehicle are all right, and then exit the vehicle. Help anyone involved get to the side of the road before calling the authorities.
You will want to take photos and videos of the accident if possible. Since most people have cell phone cameras, this is much easier than it once was. Take photos of all the cars involved. Get information from all drivers and passengers involved, and get the names of witnesses, the officers and medical personnel, and insurance companies. If you cannot do so because you need medical attention, you may ask someone else to gather this information for you. The police who arrive on the scene will also collect this information.
Contact an Attorney
Your driver should already have contacted Uber as part of their accident protocol. Uber asks their drivers to call them from the accident scene once they have ensured that they and their passengers are safe and have contacted the police and emergency services.
Keep in mind, as mentioned earlier, Uber’s insurance company is likely to try to avoid paying out or will offer you a tiny settlement. Be very wary of signing any documents or accepting any money from Uber. Doing so may waive your right to pursue additional compensation in court.
It is in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Anything you say to Uber can likely be used against you to minimize your claim for injuries. If the insurance adjuster offers you a settlement, be very wary.
While it may be tempting to take a small settlement right away, especially if that settlement looks like it will cover all of your medical bills and lost wages, you must carefully consider your options. You may later learn that your injuries are much more extensive or that you will suffer from chronic pain for the rest of your life.
If you accept a settlement that doesn’t cover any of those costs, you may have to pay for all additional treatment out of your pocket. For these reasons, and more, it’s best to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you even speak with Uber’s insurance company.
Stay Off Social Media
Whether you’re in a court battle against Uber, another driver’s insurance company, or anyone else, keep details about the case off of social media. Please don’t mention the accident or anything connected to it at all. This information can be used by Uber and their insurance company to show that you were not as injured as you claimed to be or refute your testimony. They may even use photos you’ve taken or social media check-ins to attempt to discredit you. Let your friends and family know not to post anything either.
The best rule of thumb is to remember that anything on social media is public information, even if you believe it’s only accessible by certain people. The courts can compel you to submit posts that you have made private and can even subpoena deleted posts and profiles if there’s reason to believe they impact your case. The best thing to do is stop posting on social media while your case is pending.
Work with an Attorney who is Aware of Uber’s Tactics
Uber and their insurance companies are businesses, and as such, they don’t want to lose any more money than they have to. This means they will likely fight against paying you anything, even if your injuries are so severe it leads to a loss of quality of life or prevents you from continuing to work. They often bring up in court that their drivers are independent contractors and, thus, aren’t eligible for the same protections full-time employees are. They may also bring up the contract that drivers have to sign, which states that they take responsibility for all accidents.
This is why working with an Uber accident attorney is vital in these cases. More than that, you need to have an attorney who is familiar with Uber’s contracts with their drivers, contractor-vs-employee legal distinctions, and personal injury law.
You stand a much better chance of winning when you have an expert on your side who understands the complications surrounding a case involving Uber or any other ride-share company. These cases can be even harder to win than typical personal injury cases, so working with a professional attorney is more than a good idea; it’s a necessity.
By following this guide, gathering as much information as you can, and working with a knowledgeable attorney, you will stand a much better chance of winning your accident case against an Uber driver than you might otherwise.
The information on this website is for general information and is not formal legal advice, diagnosis, or medical advice. We highly recommend that you contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your current situation, as this website may not reflect current laws or legal developments, verdicts, or information that is 100% accurate. Do not act or refrain from acting based on any content on this site.