Ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, continue to provide customers with a convenient, affordable transportation option right at their fingertips. The app-based technology allows customers to schedule a ride with a driver who is nearby. All financial transactions, including tips, are handled via the app. In most cases, these ridesharing services are just as safe as other transportation options like taxi cabs, car services, or riding a bus. However, accidents do happen, and if you are a passenger in an Uber vehicle, there are some things you should know, particularly if you suffered any injuries. A skilled car accident lawyer can thoroughly explain your options and ensure that your rights are protected.
All Uber drivers must have a valid driver’s license and pass a comprehensive background check. In addition, because Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, they must obtain the required amount of private auto insurance that will protect passengers and vehicles if they are involved in an accident when they are off the clock. However, when a driver is on-duty, they are covered by the rideshare company’s sizable policy, which can be upwards of $1 million.
Whose Insurance Is Responsible for Damages?
The nature of the car accident will determine whose insurance is going to cover the costs associated with any injuries or property damage caused by the accident. For example, if an Uber driver was involved in a car accident while a customer was in the car, and the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, the victim would need to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, assuming they have auto insurance. If the negligent driver does not have insurance, or the insurance amount does not cover the full cost of the injuries or property damage, the victim may recover compensation from the ridesharing company’s uninsured/underinsured insurance policy, which provides up to $1 million in coverage per accident.
If the Uber driver caused the accident, the victim will be covered by the Uber driver’s private auto insurance policy. However, if this does not fully cover the damages and injuries, Uber’s third-party liability insurance will likely cover the remaining costs. It is important to know that ridesharing companies work very hard to maintain the distinction that their drivers are independent contractors, so they may try to argue that they are not responsible for compensating a customer who was injured in a car accident involving a ridesharing vehicle.
Why Uber Drivers are at Risk of Car Accidents
Uber drivers may be at an increased risk of being involved in a car accident due to the unique nature of their job. The following factors may increase their risk of being in an accident, either with or without passengers in the car:
- They may be more likely to be distracted by ride requests that come in via the app on their smartphone.
- They may be more likely to look for potential passengers instead of keeping their attention on the road, and to other motorists in the vicinity.
- If they are not familiar with the area, they may be unaware of their surroundings, including one-way streets, blind intersections, and poorly marked road signs or traffic signals.
Important Steps to Take Following an Uber Accident
Like any other car accident, it is crucial to document as many details about the crash as possible. Obtain the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and insurance information from the other drivers involved. In addition, if you are not badly injured, take as many photos as you can of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles, your injuries, and the location of the accident. If there were witnesses who saw the accident happen, ask for their contact information so authorities can get their statement.
DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Represent Victims of Ridesharing Accidents
If you were injured in a car accident involving an Uber driver, you are urged to contact the DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the details of your accident and determine who is responsible for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us at 202-331-1963 or contact us online. Located in Washington, DC, we serve clients throughout DC and Maryland.