Disruptive technologies often transcend or bridge categories and Uber definitely qualifies as a disruptive technology. Since rideshare company technology has hit the market, there have been a number of lawsuits related to that technology.
In many cases, the standards for becoming an Uber driver are very low. Uber now requires background checks, but that wasn’t always the case. In addition, Uber requires that drivers have a clean driving history (except for the three incidents) and no speeding tickets over 20 mph. They must also never have been caught driving while intoxicated.
If you’ve been in an accident with an Uber driver, you are not alone. A number of folks all over the country have. The claims process is somewhat more complex than if you are in an accident with a typical driver. We’ll explain how it works below.
Insurance Issues with Rideshare Drivers
One of the reasons that Uber is considered a disruptive technology is that its rideshare service does not fall neatly into any category. When a driver works for a trucking, limo, bus, or taxi company, they are considered employees of the company. So long as they are on the clock, the company is responsible for their actions and it’s their insurance that covers them. But Uber works differently.
If the Other Driver is an Uber Driver
At least some of the lawsuits against Uber have involved the fast-paced nature of how the app works. Drivers are graded on being in a certain place at a certain time and may have their rating lowered if they don’t make the trip on time. To what extent the Uber app is responsible for this is a different story altogether. The question is: What should you do if you are in an accident an Uber driver?
The Uber driver has and maintains their own personal insurance policy. In addition, Uber has a policy that covers their drivers at certain times. For instance, if the driver is either on their way to pick up a fare or has someone in their vehicle, then Uber’s company insurance policy should pick up the tab. In all other cases, it is their own insurance policy that pays the bill.
Because Uber drivers use their own vehicles, there is a large amount of confusion concerning which insurance policy is effective when. In a typical scenario, a company would be responsible for the actions of their employees while they are on the job. But Uber drivers are not employees. They are considered independent contractors. So Uber is only responsible for their actions when they are acting on Uber’s behalf. This begins the moment they accept a fare and ends after they have dropped their fare off wherever they want.
How Fault Can Change This
Since California is a tort state, who is at fault for the accident can change whose insurance policy pays out. If the Uber driver is at fault and they have accepted a ride, then Uber’s insurance policy should pick up the tab. However, if a third party is at fault for the accident and you are a passenger in the Uber vehicle, then it’s the third party driver who should pick up the tab. Confused yet?
It gets worse. What if you’re a passenger in an Uber vehicle and your medical expenses and other losses are greater than the third party’s insurance coverage? You can end up footing the bill yourself.
Problems with Uber Insurance Claims
It gets worse. Let’s say an Uber driver is in an accident with a third party vehicle and you go to make a claim against Uber’s policy. Uber’s claims department tells you that the other driver is at fault for the accident, so you should take it up with them. This scenario is not out of the ordinary. It’s very easy to get caught in a run-around bounced between to insurance adjusters who each claim the other guy is responsible for the accident.
Our Uber Accident Attorneys Can Help
Because of the complexities involved in an Uber accident and the difficulties of the claims process, hiring an attorney who can successfully navigate these issues is paramount to a quick and fair settlement. You do not want to get caught in the middle of two insurance companies each pointing the finger at each other.
The attorneys at Wakeford Gelini have successfully managed these types of claims and have negotiated fair settlements for our clients. If both drivers were partially responsible for the accident, we negotiate a settlement with each of their insurance policies based on what percentage of fault each driver contributed. Give us a call or talk to us online and we can discuss your options for recovery.