Do You Need an Uber Accident Lawyer?

Man using cell phone to order an Uber ride

Rideshare programs, such as Uber and Lyft, have become wildly popular in the last decade. They offer both job opportunities and, in most cases, a safe and affordable means of transportation. But Uber drivers are human, and just as prone to making mistakes as other drivers. Likewise, they are not immune to the negligence of others on the road. So what happens if you are injured in an accident involving an Uber? Do you need to hire an Uber accident lawyer, or do you go through car insurance? The answer depends on several factors. 

What if the Uber Driver Caused the Accident?

If your Uber driver was responsible for your accident, you have a couple options. Uber is classified as a Transportation Network Company, or TNC. TNC drivers have the option to buy their own rideshare insurance. This is different from personal auto insurance, which generally does not cover Uber drivers while on duty. If the driver has rideshare insurance, you can file a claim just as you would through personal auto insurance. 

If they don’t have rideshare insurance, however, or it is not enough to cover your damages, you can seek additional compensation via Uber’s Liability Policy. All TNCs are required to provide liability coverage for their drivers, regardless of whether or not they have purchased their own policies. An Uber accident lawyer can help you file a claim with the company to ensure you receive an adequate sum to pay for your injuries and suffering. 

What Does the Uber Liability Insurance Cover?

Uber has three scenarios for coverage, each with different amounts and eligibility:

The Driver is Off-Duty or the App is Turned Off

If the driver was off-duty or driving with the app turned off, Uber is not responsible for extending coverage. Personal auto insurance will apply. If the driver is underinsured, you may wish to speak with an accident lawyer to seek further compensation for your injuries. 

The Driver is Waiting for a Ride Request

If the driver does not have any passengers but is on duty and waiting for a request when the accident occurs, the Uber insurance policy offers the following coverage amounts:

  • Up to $50,000 in bodily injury per person
  • Up to $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
  • Up to $25,00 in property damage per accident

The Driver is En Route to Pick up a Passenger or Has Riders

If the Uber accident occurred while the driver was on his or her way to pick up a rider, or if it happened while riders were in the vehicle, the Uber policy extends the coverage to $1,000,000 for bodily injury, property damage, and death that may have occurred. 

When Could You Sue Uber Directly?

In general, Uber and other ride-share apps are not liable for the negligent actions of their drivers. This may seem odd; after all, in other cases, employers are responsible for their employees’ actions, right? 

However, Uber drivers are not, technically, employees of Uber. Rather, they are independent contractors. They choose their own hours, supply their own vehicle, and choose which rides to accept. As such, Uber cannot be held liable for an accident caused by a driver. 

That being said, there are a few instances when you could potentially sue Uber directly for an accident. The company does have certain legal obligations when hiring independent contractors as drivers. If it fails to meet these obligations, they may be liable. For example, you’ll want to hire an Uber accident lawyer if:

The Vehicle Was Unsafe to Drive

Uber and other TNCs must ensure drivers’ vehicles comply with safety and performance requirements. If an accident occurred because a vehicle did not meet these requirements, Uber may be at least partially liable.  

No Background Check Was Performed

Uber and other rideshare programs must perform background checks on all drivers. This includes vetting each contractor for criminal charges and any past traffic violations. If Uber failed to perform a background check or the background check was incomplete, you may have grounds to pursue legal action. 

Prior Negligent Behavior Was Overlooked

Even if an Uber driver passed an initial background check, Uber must still perform annual reviews for each driver. The company also asserts that it continually checks driver DMV records for any new traffic violations. 

If a driver consistently received negative reviews for unsafe driving or erratic behavior but was still contracted through Uber, you could have a case for negligent retention of said driver. Likewise, if the company failed to address a new moving violation within a reasonable amount of time, you should speak to an Uber accident attorney. 

What if a Third Party Caused the Uber Accident?

Another scenario in an Uber accident involves the negligence of a third party. This may be fairly cut and dry, as in the case of a rear-end accident or if someone clearly and illegally ran a red light. In other cases, however, both parties may be partially at fault. This can further complicate matters, since you may end up working with personal auto insurance and a rideshare insurance policy. If this is the case, you will definitely want to seek guidance from an Uber accident lawyer to be certain your case is handled appropriately. 

Uber Accident Lawyer Colorado

If you are someone you know was involved in an Uber accident, contact Dave Roth with the Roth Group. As we have discussed, determining the at-fault party in one of these accidents can be complicated. You may be dealing with more than one type of insurance and more than one liable party. A skilled personal injury attorney can streamline the process and ensure you are fairly compensated. Call or go online today to schedule your free consultation with The Roth Group.