Injured in an Uber Accident? Who is Liable?

February 4, 2024 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
Injured in an Uber Accident? Who is Liable?

Ridesharing services like Uber have revolutionized the way we get from one place to another. They offer convenience, affordability, and often a more comfortable ride than traditional taxis. However, like any mode of transportation, accidents can happen.

If you've suffered injuries in an Uber accident, you may be wondering who is liable for your injuries and what steps you should take next. In this blog post, we'll explore the complex issue of liability in Uber accidents to help you navigate the aftermath. Do not delay seeking advice from a seasoned rideshare accident attorney in your case.

The Uber Business Model

To understand liability in Uber accidents, it's important to grasp the basics of the Uber business model. Uber is a transportation rideshare company that connects riders with drivers through a smartphone app.

Unlike traditional taxi companies, Uber drivers are not employees of the company; they are independent contractors who use their vehicles to provide rides to customers. This can create complexities in determining who is liable for your medical bills and other damages when your Uber driver gets into a wreck and you are injured.

Who Could Be Liable in an Uber Accident?

Determining liability in an Uber accident can be more challenging than in a typical car accident involving private vehicles. Several parties could potentially be held responsible, depending on the circumstances of the accident:

  • The Uber Driver: The most obvious party to consider when determining liability is the Uber driver. If the driver's negligence or reckless behavior caused the accident, they could be held liable for any resulting injuries.
  • Uber: Although Uber classifies its drivers as independent contractors, the company may still bear some responsibility, particularly if they were aware of the driver's history of unsafe driving practices or failed to adequately vet their drivers.
  • Other Drivers: If another vehicle was involved in the accident and their actions contributed to the crash, that driver could also be held liable for your injuries.
  • Third Parties: In some cases, a third party, such as a maintenance company responsible for vehicle upkeep, could be liable if vehicle maintenance issues were a factor in the accident.

Determining Liability: Key Factors

When it comes to determining liability in an Uber accident, several key factors come into play:

The Status of the Uber Driver

Uber drivers' status at the time of the accident is crucial. There are three distinct periods to consider:

  • Period 1: The driver app is offline or turned off.
  • Period 2: The driver is available or waiting for a ride.
  • Period 3: The driver is en route to pick up a rider or on a trip.

Uber's liability coverage varies depending on the period. During Period 1, the driver's personal insurance is primarily responsible for covering any accidents. This also may be the case with Period 2. However, Uber does provide contingent liability coverage during Period 2, which can come into play if the driver's personal insurance denies a claim.

During period 3, Uber's commercial insurance policy generally provides coverage for both the driver and any passengers in the event of an accident. This coverage can extend to cover injuries, property damage, and even uninsured or underinsured motorists.

Driver's Behavior

If the Uber driver's behavior contributed to the accident, they could be held personally liable. This includes actions such as speeding, running red lights, driving under the influence, or any other form of negligence. Gathering evidence of the driver's actions, such as witness statements, photographs, or video footage, can be crucial in proving liability.

Other Drivers' Behavior

If another driver was involved in the accident and their actions contributed to the crash, they may be liable for your injuries. This could include actions such as reckless driving, distracted driving, or failing to yield the right of way. In such cases, you would typically pursue a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company.

Vehicle Maintenance

If a maintenance issue with the Uber driver's vehicle played a role in the accident, a third-party maintenance company or even the driver themselves could be held liable. This might include issues like faulty brakes, worn-out tires, or other mechanical failures that led to the crash.

How to Seek Compensation After an Uber Accident

If you've been injured in an Uber accident and believe someone else is liable for your injuries, you have several options for seeking compensation:

Report the Accident

Immediately after the accident, it's crucial to report it to the relevant authorities and seek medical attention for your injuries. Document the scene as much as possible, including taking photographs, gathering witness information, and noting any statements made by the parties involved.

Contact Uber

Contacting Uber to report the accident is essential, as they may need to initiate an insurance claim. Uber's commercial insurance policy typically covers accidents during Period 2 (when the Uber driver has accepted a request and is en route to pick up a rider) and Period 3 (while a passenger is riding in the Uber driver’s vehicle), so you'll want to ensure that this coverage is activated if it applies to your situation.

Consult an Attorney

Seeking the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney is often the best course of action. An attorney can help you navigate the complexities of liability in Uber accidents and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

Determine the At-Fault Party

Your attorney will work to determine the party or parties at fault in the accident. This may involve investigating the actions of the Uber driver, other involved drivers, or third parties responsible for maintenance issues.

Pursue Compensation

Once the at-fault party has been identified, your attorney will help you pursue compensation for your medical bills and other damages. This may involve negotiating with insurance companies, filing a lawsuit if necessary, and advocating for your rights to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Uber's Insurance Policies

Uber provides insurance coverage for its drivers, but the coverage levels vary depending on the driver's status at the time of the accident:

Period 1

During this period, when the driver is offline or turned off, the Uber driver’s own car insurance cover applies.

Period 2

During this period, when the driver is online and available for a trip, Uber’s commercial insurance policy generally provides coverage if the driver’s personal auto insurance doesn’t apply:

  • $50,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage per accident

Period 3

During this period, when the Uber driver is en route or on a trip, Uber provides the following coverage for their drivers in the event of an accident:

  • $1 million third-party liability
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury and/or first-party injury insurance
  • Contingent comprehensive and collision up to the actual cash value of the car with a $2,500 deductible

What to Do if You Suffered Injuries in an Uber Accident

Whether you're an Uber driver, an Uber passenger, a passenger in another vehicle involved in an accident with an Uber driver, or a pedestrian or bicyclist struck by an Uber vehicle, it's important to take specific steps to protect your health and legal rights. Here are some steps you should consider taking:

  • Ensure Safety: First and foremost, check for injuries and make sure everyone is safe. If necessary, call 911 for medical assistance.
  • Document the Scene: Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage and any visible injuries. Gather witness information if possible.
  • Request Medical Attention: Even if injuries seem minor, it's a good idea to seek prompt medical attention. Some injuries may not manifest immediately, and medical professionals can evaluate you for any hidden injuries.
  • Cooperate with First Responders: Provide information to paramedics and law enforcement officers as needed. Follow their instructions and accept medical treatment if recommended.
  • Consult an Attorney: If you believe someone else is at fault for the accident, consult a personal injury attorney who handles Uber accidents.

Discuss Your Uber Accident with an Experienced Lawyer from Francis Firm

Injured in an Uber accident? Determining liability can be a complex process, but understanding the key factors involved and seeking legal guidance can help you secure the compensation you deserve. Whether you're a passenger, another driver, or an Uber driver yourself, remember that you have rights and options for seeking compensation for your injuries and losses.

If you find yourself in such a situation, don't hesitate to consult with an experienced Dallas personal injury lawyer from Francis Firm, who can provide the guidance and support you need during this challenging time. We can help you navigate the legal complexities and work toward a fair resolution for your Uber accident case. Your well-being and recovery are of the utmost importance, and pursuing the appropriate legal channels can help you on your path to healing.