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Uber’s $1 Million Insurance Plan: What You Need to Know After an Uber Crash

Who pays when you are injured in an Uber accident? An attorney explains compensation for drivers, passengers and third parties.
Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare apps are becoming increasingly popular in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other Pennsylvania cities. Requesting an Uber ride is convenient, quick, and often much cheaper than a taxi. And, many people believe that ride share services are also safer.

When you get into an Uber vehicle, you are accepting a ride from a stranger. However, you also pay a safe ride fee. Uber claims that this fee covers background checks, motor vehicle screenings, and driver safety education. But, accidents still happen.

What happens when you are injured in an Uber accident?

You may have read about Uber’s one million dollar insurance coverage on the website’s safety p
age. In fact, Uber drivers and passengers are covered by a three-part insurance plan. Coverage depends on whether the driver’s activity at the time of the crash.

Case 1: The driver is using his vehicle for personal purposes and is not available to pick up passengers.
If an Uber driver is not available to pick up passengers he is covered by his personal auto insurance. Liability and coverage limits are determined by the individual policy and state law.

Case 2: The driver is available to pick up passengers, but is not carrying a passenger at the time of the crash.
If the driver is available, but not carrying a passenger, the accident is primarily covered the driver’s own personal insurance company. However, Uber provides additional contingent liability coverage of $50,000 per injury (up to $100,000) and up to $25,000 in property damage. This contingent liability coverage must be requested, and is only available if the driver’s personal insurance doesn’t cover all the damages.

Case 3: The driver is carrying an Uber passenger.
If an accident occurs while the driver is carrying a passenger, the passenger and driver are covered under Uber’s one million dollar liability coverage policy. Uber also provides one million dollars of uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage for accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers.

Uber Crashes: Getting Compensation Isn’t Easy
This plan is supposed to offer coverage for all accidents involving an Uber driver; however, getting coverage isn’t easy. Uber and its insurance company are businesses and they don’t want to pay a penny more than they have to. The company will do everything it can to fight your claim.

Uber Drivers Are Not Uber Employees
Uber doesn’t hire drivers. Instead, Uber connects people who need rides with independent contractors who can provide rides. Uber drivers are not Uber’s employees, and Uber has used this distinction to deny liability for the actions of their drivers.

In 2013, a San Francisco Uber driver hit and killed a 6-year-old. The driver was between fares, but he was using his Uber app at the time of the crash. Uber denied responsibility claiming that the driver was an Uber licensee, not an employee. A similar accident occurred in New York in March 2015.

In general, a company is liable for the actions of its employees while they’re working. A company is not liable, on the other hand, for the actions of third-party contractors. Uber has expressly denied liability for the death of a 6-year-old in San Francisco because the driver that hit her was between fares.

Coverage for Uber Accidents May Be Denied

When Uber denies responsibility, accident victims are left with two choices. They can sue Uber or they can request compensation from the Uber driver’s personal insurance company. But, this can also be complicated. Many personal insurance policies specifically exclude injuries from accidents that occur while a driver is working.

So, what are your options after an Uber accident?

Getting Coverage for Your Uber Accident Claim
Your options after an Uber accident will depend on whether you are an Uber passenger, an Uber driver or a third party such as a pedestrian or the occupant of another vehicle.

If you are a passenger: In theory, all passengers are covered by Uber’s one million dollar liability coverage regardless of who is responsible for the accident. However, Uber maintains that they are not liable for driver behavior because the drivers are not employees. So, you may have difficulty claiming damages if the accident occurred because the driver was distracted, drunk or otherwise reckless.

In that case, you have the option of suing the driver. However, damages may be limited, especially if the driver does not have commercial vehicle insurance.

If you are an Uber driver: If you were not carrying a passenger, your injuries will be covered by your personal auto insurance. If you were carrying a passenger, your insurance may refuse coverage because you were driving for pay. In this case, your injuries will be covered by Uber’s insurance plan. However, Uber may refuse coverage if you are found at fault for the accident.

If you are a third party: Your rights will depend on whether or not the driver was carrying a passenger. You may only claim compensation from Uber if the driver if the driver was carrying a passenger at the time of the crash. If the driver was between fares or using his car as a personal vehicle, you must file a claim with your own insurance company or with the driver’s personal insurance.

What Can You Do?

If you’ve been injured, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, emotional harm, and more. However, you can’t fight Uber on your own. You need an experienced personal injury attorney with a track record of taking on large transportation companies and big insurance companies.

Worried that you can’t afford a lawyer? Some personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. An attorney will evaluate your case and let you know if it’s worth pursuing a claim. If you have a case, the attorney will represent you on a contingency basis. There are no upfront costs. The attorney’s fees are included in your settlement.