Uber Accident Injury Compensation
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When you are involved in an automobile accident, the usual course of action is for you to present your claim for damages to the at-fault party who will in turn submit your claim for damages to his or her insurance carrier. This, of course, is assuming that the at-fault party is actually insured and is carrying sufficient insurance coverage to pay your damage claim in full.
If you are involved in an accident with a driver for one of the “rideshare” or “ridehailing” companies such as Uber or Lyft, your ability to submit a damages claim will depend on whether or not the driver was considered to be “on duty” at the time of the accident. If the driver was not en route to pick up a passenger, or did not have a passenger in the vehicle, you will be dealing with the driver’s personal auto insurance carrier as described below. If the driver was “on duty,” as defined by the rideshare, you will be dealing with the rideshare’s liability insurance carrier.
Uber’s liability insurance coverage
Uber’s liability insurance carrier is the James River Insurance Company of Richmond, VA. Uber drivers are insured for the following amounts under two distinct situations:
1) If the driver was logged into the UberPartner application, and was available to receive pickup requests, but was not transporting a passenger.
- Bodily Injury (Per Person) $50,000
- Bodily Injury (Per Accident) $100,000
- Property Damage (Per Accident) $25,000
2) If the driver was logged into the UberPartner application, had accepted a rideshare request via the UberPartner application, and was en route to the pickup address or transporting the rideshare passenger to the final destination.
- Combined Single Limit (Each Accident) $1,000,000
- Uninsured / Underinsured CSL $1,000,000
Note that in order for the Uber insurance policy to be in effect the Uber driver must be logged into the UberPartner application and thus available to accept rideshare requests. If the driver is not logged into the UberPartner application, or if the requesting passenger has cancelled his or her request, the Uber driver is covered by the driver’s personal auto insurance only. The Uber liability policy also does not cover damages to the Uber driver’s vehicle.
Types of compensation in claims involving an Uber driver and vehicle accident
When you are injured in an accident, you have the legal right to seek compensation for you injuries as well as reimbursement for any other expenses that you had to pay “out of pocket” so long as those expenses were a direct consequence of your accident.
In general, you are entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses related to treatment of your injuries
- Lost wages or other income that you lost due to being unable to work at your usual occupation
- Compensation for “non-economic” damages such as pain and suffering that you experienced, psychological trauma, counseling, or disruption of family life
- Repair or replacement of damaged personal property
- Legal and administrative expenses related to your injury
- Any other expenses and/or compensation your attorney may discover that you are entitled to
From the information presented above, it should be apparent that the rideshare company will come out ahead if it can argue that the driver was not considered to be on duty at the time of an accident because then the driver’s personal auto liability insurance is responsible for your claim. It is, of course, to your advantage if the driver was on duty at the time of an accident because the driver’s liability insurance coverage will be considerably higher that it would have been if the driver’s personal auto insurance was used to cover your damages claim.
Why you will need a personal injury lawyer
If you have read other pages on this site, you already know that rideshares such as Uber and Lyft consider their drivers to be independent contractors rather than employees. This is purely a business decision because if the driver is an independent contractor rather than employee the rideshare is not responsible income tax withholding, Social Security taxes, health care insurance, and any other taxes that may be due on an employee’s income.
As already mentioned, the rideshare company will want to cast their independent contractor/driver as being “off duty” because that would make the driver’s auto insurance liable for any damages rather than the rideshare’s liability insurance carrier. The whole issue can be reduced to a single question: If the rideshare could care less about the welfare of its drivers, why would they care about you?
The best way to make sure that the rideshare doesn’t try to ignore you is to hire a personal injury lawyer who will force the rideshare to deal fairly with your damages claim and to win you the settlement that you deserve.
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