Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are popular in California. They offer a cheaper transportation alternative to a standard taxi in the city. These drivers are typically independent contractors and are not employees of Uber. This doesn’t mean Uber or other ridesharing companies are not responsible in the event one of their drivers is involved in an accident.
So, what happens if you are riding in an uber when the driver gets in an accident? Or you are hit by an Uber driver while you are in your own vehicle, or are a pedestrian on the street. Can you file a lawsuit against Uber? In California, yes, you may be able to sue. It comes down to the circumstances of the case and the laws that apply where the accident occurred.
Ridesharing Companies Coverage
In California, the California Public Utilities Code and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulate ride sharing companies like Uber. The code requires drivers with passengers in the vehicle to have at least $1,000,000 in auto insurance coverage. In addition, ride-sharing companies are required to conduct background checks on all drivers.
Sue the Driver or Uber?
Since an Uber driver is an independent contractor, it difficult to sue Uber directly when one of their drivers gets into an accident. You would need to file a lawsuit against the driver to recover for your injuries. The Uber policy requiring auto insurance covers the driver in California.
Say you’re a passenger in an Uber when another driver crashes into your vehicle. Since the other driver is at fault, that driver is required to pay for the damages. If it is a serious injury, there may not be enough coverage to reimburse you for your injuries. In these cases, the Uber policy for under-insured motorist coverage would kick in. However, this can be a complicated process, which is why it’s important to speak with a skilled California ride sharing litigation attorney like The Wakeford Law Firm.
What was the Uber Driver’s Status?
If you are attempting to file a claim against Uber, the driver’s status help determine coverage under the Uber policy. If the driver was on their own personal time, there would be no coverage through Uber.
Uber will look at a few factors when determining coverage for drivers or passengers of other vehicles. Some of these include:
- Did the driver already have a passenger, or was he or she picking up a new ride?
- Was the driver logged into the ride-sharing application or awaiting a new passenger?
- Was the driver logged out of the app and driving on their own personal time?
Examples of Uber Accident Lawsuits and Settlements
Past Uber settlements assist future cases since they give the courts a precedent to refer to. Earlier this year, an Uber driver was convicted of vehicular manslaughter after he fatally struck a six-year-old child back in 2013. There were no passengers in the Uber vehicle, but the girl’s brother and mother were also injured in the collision. At that time, Uber drivers were not covered under Uber’s insurance unless they picked up a fare. The driver was logged in and able to receive a request. Despite this, Uber settled with the deceased child’s family for an undisclosed amount.
In 2015, the California Labor Commissionr ruled that Uber drivers were employees instead of independent contractors. This is because Uber was involved in every aspect of the operation. This ruling was not a broad ruling in all instances, but it does show that each case is treated differently.
Retaining a San Francisco Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one were involved in an Uber driver accident, we highly recommend speaking with a San Francisco and Marin County car accident attorney. It does not matter whether you were a passenger in the Uber or driving your own vehicle at the time of the accident. Coverage and liability can be complex with accidents involving a ridesharing company. And, with the potential for multiple parties to be involved, it’s best to let an experienced California attorney handle your case.
Depending on who was at fault for the accident, your attorney can help you get compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, transportation costs, pain and suffering, future loss of earnings, future medical expenses, and more.
Contact the personal injury attorneys at The Wakeford Law Firm today at 415-569-7495 to schedule a consultation. Let our experienced team get you the compensation you deserve.