Insurance should cover you if you’re injured in an accident involving an Uber driver. It’s not traditional insurance because Uber isn’t a traditional transportation company. Its drivers are independent contractors, not employees, so Uber provides insurance in a unique way. They don’t do this out of the goodness of their heart. Without this insurance, Uber would have difficulty recruiting drivers, and lack of coverage would scare potential passengers away.
What is Uber?
Uber considers itself a mobility service provider. Its app connects people who want to travel with a driver in Uber’s network. It’s like a taxi service, but the company has gotten around laws that cover those services. Uber drivers may also deliver packages and food. Drivers get a share of what the app charges.
In the first quarter of 2022, Uber booked $26.4 billion in business in the 72 countries where it does business. The company started in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. Uber has about 70% of the rideshare market, with Lyft filling the rest.
What Kind of a Company is Uber?
The person driving for you may be a very nice, responsible person. But that’s not how Uber’s behaved in the past. They’ve shown a willingness to, if not act illegally, push the boundaries of ethical conduct.
Recently Uber’s former head lobbyist in Europe leaked thousands of documents to the press. They’ve shown that:
- In some locations where they started, they heavily subsidized their drivers, sharply reducing business for taxi drivers. They sometimes physically attacked Uber drivers, which the company played up to get sympathetic press. After taxis were largely driven out of business, Uber reduced its driver subsidies, cutting drivers’ incomes
- The company in 2015 remotely disabled its computer systems in the Netherlands just as government authorities raided their offices as part of their investigation into the company, preventing them from finding what they sought
- When Uber expanded into South Africa it allowed drivers to take tips in cash. The country suffers from high unemployment (drivers are desperate for work) and criminal violence rates (thieves targeted drivers because they had cash in their cars), so drivers are vulnerable
- It took hundreds of reported sexual assaults by drivers on passengers before the company addressed the issue, changed its policies, and started providing crime statistics to the public
What Insurance May Cover an Accident Involving an Uber Driver?
Uber doesn’t employ drivers or own their vehicles, so insurance coverage depends on whether a driver has the app on and if they’re on their way to pick up a passenger or drive them to their destination.
Their personal vehicle coverage applies if the app is off and the driver’s not working for Uber. If the app is on and the driver’s available or waiting for a ride request, one of your insurance companies provides coverage for:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per person
- $100,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
If the driver’s on the way to pick up a customer or is driving with one in the vehicle, there is:
- $1,000,000 in liability coverage per accident
- Insurance coverage if another party’s at fault but lacks insurance or their coverage isn’t sufficient given the harm done (known as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage)
There’s similar coverage for drivers delivering food or packages.
If a driver has personal insurance but is engaged in a business (like driving for Uber), coverage for an accident would probably be denied because non-personal use is excluded by the policy. The driver may purchase a business car policy or rely on Uber’s insurance to get coverage. Some drivers may have both.
What Should I Do If I’m in an Accident With an Uber Driver?
Like any accident, the driver should show you identification and proof of insurance. You can also report the crash to Uber through your app or the company’s website. If possible, you should take photos of the accident scene and cooperate with police officers who show up at the scene.
When you report the accident or make a claim, just provide the basic facts. Tell them you’ll be talking to an attorney and avoid details about your injury or how it affects you. The more you talk, the more likely you may say something that harms your claim.
Before talking to Uber or an insurance company, get medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. If you’re seriously injured, use an ambulance to go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
The longer you delay seeing a healthcare professional, the greater the risk Uber’s insurance company will contest your claim. Because you waited, they may state your injuries aren’t serious and or they were caused by something else.
Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, LLP Can Help You After an Accident With an Uber Driver
Our lawyers have many years of experience helping car accident victims, including those injured in an Uber accident. Whether you were a passenger, in another car, a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or a motorcyclist, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We’ll discuss the accident, how Texas law may apply, and your best options for obtaining compensation.