Uber Accident FAQ
You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers
How Is An Uber Accident Different?
Uber drivers are private citizens, not professional drivers or experienced cabbies. They aren’t required to have any special training or licensing. None! They also drive their own personal cars that may or may not be covered by personal or Uber insurance depending on the situation.
Did you hear about California AB 5, the new gig work law? It views Uber drivers as presumed employees, which means accident victims may have new leverage to hold Uber responsible for its employees’ poor driving. However, Uber has been fighting to keep its drivers as independent contractors, so this area of the law is still evolving.
Uber has a long history of trying to get out of paying accident claims. In order to get compensation after an Uber accident, you’ll have an uphill battle to fight and it’s a huge help to have a qualified lawyer on your side.
Here’s what to do after an Uber accident happens.
- Call 911 immediately if there are any injuries (even minor ones) or property damage.
- Gather evidence, including:
- Names and contact info of all parties involved, eyewitnesses, and responding officers.
- Photos of the area, vehicles involved, and your injuries.
- The driver's license number & personal insurance information of the Uber driver who hit you.
- The police report.
- Contact your insurance company in case something goes wrong and you're forced to rely on your own insurance to cover your expenses.
- Contact an Uber accident attorney. If you've suffered serious injuries, you should at least consult with a personal injury lawyer who is experienced with Uber accidents.
Here’s how Uber insurance works after an accident. Under California law, Uber must hold $1 million dollars in insurance for accident injuries. Uber’s insurance partner program offers driver coverage with major insurance carriers.
In the event of a covered rideshare service accident, a passenger can file a claim requesting compensation from Uber's insurance depending on the circumstances involved. Uber rideshare insurance coverage depends upon three distinct periods:
Period 1: The driver is offline or the app is off.
When the driver is not actively using the app and isn’t working, the driver’s personal insurance coverage applies. You’d need to pursue their auto insurance company, not the rideshare insurance.
Period 2: The driver is available or waiting for a ride request.
When the driver is working but not actively transporting a passenger, Uber maintains third-party liability coverage if personal auto insurance doesn’t apply. This includes $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
Period 3: The driver is en route to pick up riders or is actively driving a passenger.
This is the active period when a driver is en route or driving passengers. Uber insurance is $1 million in third-party liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, contingent comprehensive and collision coverage, and up to the cash value of the car with a $1,000 deductible.
Lyft insurance works in a similar way, but it has slightly different coverage terms. Remember, you don’t have to rely on Uber or Lyft representatives to resolve your case. You can seek the help of an experienced San Francisco Uber accident lawyer to stand up to the rideshare company.
Should I Handle My Claim Directly With Uber?
While the ridesharing app does have a hotline to report your accident details which you should use, we don't advise you to speak with their insurance company. They’re highly trained to minimize your claim or trick you into giving a recorded statement that reduces or completely limits your ability to make a claim.
Do Uber Drivers Need To Have Their Own Insurance?
As a means of protecting itself against insurance claims, the company requires that all drivers have an active personal auto insurance policy. However, that policy is not designed to protect passengers in the event of an Uber accident.
Insurance policies almost always include a “for hire” exclusion or clause which states that if a driver is using their personal automobile in a moneymaking venture, the policy is void.
That’s why you’ll probably need to pursue Uber or Lyft for their insurance coverage, depending on the circumstances and which period the driver was in at the time of the accident.
Yes, a passenger can sue an Uber driver! But you probably won’t need to. A simple insurance claim is often all it takes to get the compensation a victim needs for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
In a small number of cases, if an Uber accident passenger and their attorney determine that an acceptable settlement amount cannot be negotiated with the insurance company, it may be possible to get a larger sum in compensation for the injuries suffered by suing the Uber or Lyft driver instead, which would generally mean facing the insurance company in court.
It is important to understand that it's always possible the passenger may actually lose the case if it goes to trial, in which case, unfortunately, the injured person may walk away with nothing but legal expenses for their effort.
On the other hand, sometimes suing an Uber driver is the right decision for an injured driver to get the compensation they deserve.
Operating a self-driving car doesn’t release a car’s driver from responsibility in a crash. They are still expected to be in control of their vehicle. As an injured victim, you can pursue a driverless Uber claim by establishing that they were negligent in one of two ways:
- Ordinary negligence: The plaintiff alleges that a reasonable person would have acted differently in the same situation.
- Negligence per se: The plaintiff alleges that the conduct was inherently negligent and there is no need to prove that a reasonable person would have acted differently.
You may also be able to pursue a lawsuit against the vehicle manufacturer for design flaws or system malfunctions that contributed to your self-driving vehicle accident. Perhaps even a government entity could be held responsible for a missing safety barrier or another type of road safety failure that added to the severity of your crash.
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, our team sees more cases where the Uber driver is at fault than where a non-Uber driver is. Top contributors to Uber accidents include:
High speed is the number one contributing factor to car accidents in Los Angeles and is the number one cause of death on U.S. roads. Rideshare drivers have a financial incentive to move as quickly as possible. The more passengers they serve, the more money they make.
Failure to Stop
Uber drivers sometimes roll through stop signs, whip around corners, and avoid making full stops to decrease their travel time. This kind of behavior dramatically increases the risk of crashes.
When’s the last time you had an Uber driver who was from your neighborhood? Many drivers don’t know the roads well and drive erratically because they’re in unfamiliar territory.
The rideshare driver is constantly looking down at their Uber app. This app-focused mindset is what leads to Uber distracted driving accidents.
When you’re behind the wheel you need to be alert, awake, and ready to respond to changing road conditions at a moment’s notice. If an Uber driver is sleepy or overworked, they’re a danger on the road.
New Risk: Driverless Cars
Driverless Ubers are back on our streets and have already been involved in several high-profile wrecks. If you’re injured in an accident involving an autonomous car, you can sue for compensation with the help of an Uber accident lawyer.
After an accident, the rideshare company will often stall, stonewall, and hope you’ll get tired of fighting. They want you to give up or accept a lowball settlement. They’ll try to wear you down with a complex and frustrating claims process.
Keep in mind that Uber has repeatedly come under fire for the way they handle accidents on California roads. A recent report found that these companies may be misleading the public about rideshare accidents because they want you to think their service is safe.
Get a lawyer and everything changes. Now the rideshare company realizes this person isn’t going to back down and is going to demand high-dollar compensation.
A passenger in an Uber accident can be left with expensive medical bills. Here are some of the most common injuries we’ve seen.
Head and Neck Injuries
Uber passengers typically ride in the back seat, where their head will likely shift violently forward or to the side in a crash and may even strike the rear of the front seat or window. You may have head trauma, facial injuries, even concussion and traumatic brain injuries with lifelong effects.
Knee and Lower Limb Injuries
Knee and leg injuries are less common in regular car accidents than in Uber passenger accidents. If the leg comes into contact with the rear of the front seat, the impact can cause irreparable damage to the delicate joints in the lower limbs.
Hand and Wrist Injuries
If the passenger sees an accident about to happen, they’ll typically throw their hands out to protect themselves. You could have broken fingers, disjointed wrists, torn ligaments, and fractured arms - any of which could require special (and expensive) hand surgery.
People who hire lawyers get more compensation than those who don’t. That’s a fact. The Insurance Research Council found that accident victims with a lawyer receive an average of 3.5 times more.
- Until you get an experienced Uber accident attorney on your case, Uber is not going to make an offer that adequately compensates you for things like:
- Extended physical therapy or other future treatment
- Lost wages from periods away from work
- The value of lost services you were physically unable to perform during your recovery
- The pain and suffering you and your family endured as a result of the accident
It’s your right under California law to request a FAIR settlement that adequately compensates you for the damages your Uber accident caused. But Uber will put up a good fight, so you’ll need an experienced attorney to help you maximize your compensation.
Going to court is not usually necessary. In the vast majority of Uber accident cases, there’s an agreement before even having to go to court.
Actually, without a lawyer, you may unnecessarily end up in litigation and maybe even trial. Many California personal injury lawyers are too overworked to give your case personal attention, and their inattention could negatively impact your options.
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we get high-value results without litigation in about 94% of our cases. We’re here to give your case the attention it deserves! Contact us for a free consultation.
Uber uses tricky tactics and will look for any possible way to avoid paying an expensive claim. You need legal experts who know how to outsmart Uber at every turn. That’s us!
Don't just hire a general personal injury attorney or one who dabbles in car accident cases. You want someone who focuses on rideshare accidents specifically. At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ve handled numerous Uber and Lyft accident cases in California.
Long before Uber and Lyft ever even existed, we ONLY represented people in severe traffic accidents. We genuinely care about the people of California and will fight for you.
Our team prides itself on providing unparalleled customer service. You can see in our reviews that:
- We don’t make bold promises just to get your business.
- We are accessible and return your calls and emails ASAP.
- We discuss all the crucial decisions with you and give you the information needed to make good choices.
- We fight against crafty Uber adjusters and lawyers to get the maximum amount you deserve.
- We negotiate with your medical providers to reduce your bills, letting you take more of the settlement money home.
- We make sure you get your FULL financial recovery quickly with as little stress as possible.
We Handle Your Personal Injury Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After an injury, contact the traffic accident attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including Uber accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details. We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.
Want More Answers?
Get a copy of our answers to 64 of the most common questions people have about:
Didn't find the Answer?
Contact Us and We'll get back to You