Uber has quickly become one of the hottest ways to get around town for work, events, or nights out on the town, and more than just customers are happy.
The ridesharing company has become a big relief to law enforcement and organizations that want to reduce the rate of drunk driving, because it’s another way for people to go out and have a few drinks and still get home safely.
But Uber comes with its own risks. After all, in most cases, your driver is a complete stranger, and they’re not licensed and controlled in the same way that cab drivers are. So what happens if you get into an accident and an Uber is involved?
As a Passenger. If an Uber driver is being negligent and causes an accident while you are a passenger, Uber wants to pay for your injuries. After an Uber driver has accepted your ride or has picked you up and is taking you to your destination, insurance companies say that the Uber driver is in Period 2 and 3, which is covered by Uber’s $1 million insurance coverage.
This plan has allowed passengers to feel at ease when taking rides from Uber drivers. Uber also offers an additional $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage that will cover your damages and injuries in the event that the other driver is not insured.
So if you’re getting a ride in an Uber, treat the accident like any other car crash and be sure to get the information that you will need in case you have to file a claim or go to court.
As a Driver. If you are in an accident while working as an Uber driver, you probably already know that you’re not an Uber employee. Rather, you work through Uber as an independent contractor. So while Uber may cover most situations, you may be on your own for others.
Here’s how that breaks down:
- If you get into an accident while you are driving a passenger, Uber will cover your damages with its $1 million insurance coverage and the $1 million UIM insurance coverage.
- If you get in an accident while the app is on but you have not physically picked up a passenger yet, that’s where things get a little murky. Uber might cover your personal damages, but may not cover the damages done to your car. This time is called Period 1, and Uber claims to only provide insurance if you cannot maintain the insurance amounts that Uber offers ($50K for personal injury and $25K for property damages). However, there are insurance providers in Florida that offer rideshare-friendly policies that will cover you while you have your Uber app on and no passenger. This is a relief for many rideshare drivers who fear being dropped by insurance companies after mentioning their contract with rideshare apps.
- If your app is off, Uber will not cover any losses, whether they involve personal injury or damage to your car.
As a Pedestrian or Passenger of another Vehicle. What if an Uber driver hits you while you are driving in your own car or walking as a pedestrian? Many say that this very situation is what gave birth to Uber’s $1 million insurance coverage policy.
In 2014, a 6-year-old girl was killed when she was struck by an Uber waiting to pick up a ride on New Year’s Eve. The suit made national headlines. The rideshare giant tried to distance themselves from the case by arguing that since the Uber had not accepted or picked up a passenger, they were not liable for the injuries of the daughter.
But it wasn’t a good look for Uber, and the company announced the rules regarding their insurance policy soon after.
So what does this mean for you today? If you in an accident with an Uber driver that has accepted a fare or is driving a passenger, your damages will be covered by Uber’s $1 million insurance policy. Otherwise, you will have to file a claim under the Uber driver’s personal insurance.
What about Other Ridesharing Apps?
Depending on your location or preferences, you may use a different rideshare app, like Lyft. Each app has different insurance policies and handles accidents and compensation differently. Before you get into a car through a ridesharing app, find out what types of insurance coverage they have for drivers, passengers, and third parties.
Uber and other ridesharing apps are still fairly new, so in many ways they are still trying to figure out their insurance policies, frequently making tweaks to see what works best for them. Because of this, if you are in an accident with a rideshare, you want someone on your side who has a clear understanding of Florida personal injury law. Before you do anything, set up a free consultation with a knowledgeable auto accident attorney today.
About the Author:
Steven Slootsky is a 1985 graduate of Nova Law School, which means he’s been a practicing Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer for more than 2 decades. He founded the Law Offices of The Injury Law Firm of South Florida in 1991. The Fort Lauderdale-based accident attorney is a member of the Florida Bar, as well as the Federal Bar for the Southern District for the U.S. District Court. During his career as a personal injury lawyer/auto accident compensation attorney, Steven has served as the co-chair of the Workers’ Compensation section for Broward County, Florida. He is also a Bronze member of the Florida Workers Advocates, a former member of the board, and serves as an “Eagle” member of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers.