Uber Accident Injury Claim Process
If you've been injured in a car accident while riding in an Uber, contact a lawyer at The Doan Law Firm who will fight for your rights!
“Ridesharing” or “ridehailing” services such as Lyft and Uber are marketed as cost-effective alternatives to traditional taxi and limo services. In both services, and other similar operations, a passenger uses his or her smartphone and installed application to request transportation from one point to another. This request is routed to the nearest driver (Uber “partner”) who then picks up the passenger and drives to the passenger’s destination. Billing is done by the service, and the service then pays the driver.
The issue of greatest concern is the question of the relationship between the ridesharing service and its drivers. The driver can have only one of two possible relationships: an employee of the service or an independent contractor. This relationship is vitally important in the event that an Uber driver is involved in an accident.
Uber claims that its drivers are “independent contractors” or “third party service providers.” Uber uses this definition because it relieves Uber of at least some liability if an Uber driver is involved in an accident. If a driver was working directly for Uber, as an employee, Uber would be liable for the actions of its employee. On the other side of the equation, if an Uber driver is a “self-employed third party service provider” Uber is not directly liable for the driver’s actions, particularly if a driver’s conduct results in an accident where the driver could be found at fault.
Procedure for filing a claim with Uber’s insurance carrier
Following an accident involving an Uber driver and vehicle, the Uber driver must furnish you with a copy of his or her personal auto insurance as well as Uber’s liability insurance information. As of this writing, Uber’s liability insurance carrier is the James River Insurance Company of Richmond, VA. If you were injured and required transportation to a medical treatment facility, the investigating police officer will usually visit you at your location and inform you when the accident report will be ready and how you can obtain copies.
You should contact Uber’s emergency help line at 1-800-353-8237 if you are unable to get information from the Uber driver regarding Uber’s liability coverage. If you were a passenger when you were injured, Uber will usually contact you from within the Uber app on your smartphone or at your home telephone number. If they need any paperwork from you, they will usually send it to your personal e-mail account.
Under no circumstances should you discuss the circumstances of the accident or your injuries with an insurance adjuster from Uber’s insurance carrier or any other insurance company. If the adjuster insists that you have to provide information, simply tell the adjuster that you will have your attorney speak with him or her and your attorney will be glad to answer any questions. This will immediately end any efforts to get information that could be used against you when you file your claim.
The main thing to keep in mind is that Uber, and anyone else, will try every trick in the book to get you to settle your injury claim as cheaply as possible. It will work to your advantage to have your injury case managed by a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the insurance laws of your state and the process for filing a lawsuit against whomever was responsible for your injuries.
Uber insurance for drivers
Uber says that its drivers are independent contractors that do not directly work for Uber. Uber does, however, provide liability insurance coverage for its drivers as a “courtesy” but this liability coverage is in force only if the driver has picked up a passenger and is en route to the passenger’s destination or if the driver has accepted a pickup request through the Uber software and is en route to the passenger’s location. Under any other circumstances the driver’s personal auto insurance must deal with any damages caused by the driver.
Since the issue of Uber’s liability for accidents caused by its “third party service providers” is just now beginning to work its way through the courts, anyone injured in an accident involving an Uber vehicle and/or driver should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident or injury to insure that their legal right to compensation is protected.
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