If you’ve ever needed a ride somewhere, you may have used Uber, the most-recognizable, largest rideshare service on the planet. The company says ride requests have increased 150 percent year-over-year, rising to $8.7 billion in the second quarter of 2017. The convenience of ordering a ride on an application and getting one within mere minutes is tantalizing for many, but every time you ride as an Uber passenger, you’re also granting your health and safety to the control of the driver. If you’re in the scary situation of being in a car accident while someone from Uber is driving you, you may be wondering what action to take.
Uber is a software application that is used by independent contractors to perform the ridesharing service. This agreement means Uber drivers are not technically employees of Uber. Uber requires that all drivers have their own insurance policies, and Uber also manages an insurance policy that complements that of the driver. This is important, because typical car insurance coverage only covers personal driving, not commercial driving for employment.
The Uber insurance policy covers:
- The driver’s liability to a third party, or you the passenger
- Any injuries due to an uninsured or underinsured motorist
- Collision and comprehensive coverage if the driver already has such coverage on their personal insurance
Despite this insurance coverage, getting the compensation you deserve when you’re in an accident as an Uber passenger can be difficult when you’re dealing with insurance companies and multiple entities. In 2014, an Uber driver who had a reckless driving conviction struck and killed a 6-year-old girl, and the company denied responsibility because the driver was not technically logged into the app.
As a for-profit business, Uber will take the action it needs to protect its finances. That’s why it’s so vital to take as many precautions as possible immediately, days and weeks after the accident to stay protected and get the full compensation you deserve.
Immediately after an accident in an Uber vehicle, check for any injuries you, other passengers or the driver may have sustained. If the driver is unresponsive, do not touch them or attempt to move them. Immediately call emergency services in any case. Even if there are no apparent injuries, you’ll want a police witness and a police report to help you with your claim.
If there were witnesses to the accident, and you are able to talk with them, ask them to remain at the scene of the accident until police arrive. Ask for their full names and contact information, including phone number, address and email address, in case they need to be contacted in the future.
Document the scene by shooting photos or video footage of any injuries or property damage, including to the vehicle and the surrounding area. Get the full name, contact information and insurance information of the Uber driver, as well as all the same information from any other driver or party involved. Document any signs of negligence on behalf of the driver who, like previous Uber drivers, may have been hired by Uber despite having a risky driving background.
Accept any medical services that are offered to you, because you may have experienced an injury that is not immediately apparent or that is more serious than you realize. Keep all records of medical visits safe and organized.
The Uber help site recommends to contact Uber through the app to give accident details, but in most cases when you’re in an accident with an Uber driver, you should contact a lawyer first before speaking with a representative from Uber. Never admit you are at fault, which may compromise your case.
After you’ve received treatment and have gone home after an Uber accident, contact your insurance company about the accident and provide them with everything they need. You may want to contact a car accident attorney in Birmingham for guidance, especially in case you are contacted by Uber or by the driver’s insurance carrier.
If you receive a claim that you believe is too low, or you think that negligence may have been a factor in the Uber car accident, it’s essential to consult with an attorney. If the Uber driver was tired, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or not driving safely, you may have a substantial car accident personal injury case. Also, improper maintenance of the vehicle may have been a factor that compromised your safety.
Because ridesharing is a relatively new form of transportation that has only emerged in recent years, legal aspects to car accidents involving Uber drivers can become complicated and confusing to the average passenger. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you navigate the complexities to help you build a better case that obtains you justice.