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For many Americans, ride sharing is a simple, convenient way to get to where they need to go. As long as you have a smartphone and a credit card, you can simply order a ride from Uber — and a driver will show up to your location and take you to where you need to go.
While there are many benefits to taking an Uber, there are also drawbacks. The ride share system sprung up relatively quickly, before regulations were in place. That means that there are few laws to govern how these companies operate.
As a passenger, pedestrian, or even another driver, you do have options if you are in a Uber accident. The key to getting compensation for your injuries is determining whether the Uber driver was “on the clock” when the crash occurred. A skilled California Uber accident attorney can work with you to help you recover for your losses.
The Dangers of Riding in a Uber
According to a recent study, the rise of ride sharing companies like Uber have led to an increase in the accident rate in the United States by as much as 2 to 3%. This isn’t surprising, given that there are so few regulations to guide Uber and other corporations when it comes to who they hire to drive — and how drivers operate.
Like any other driver on the road, the people who are behind the wheel of Ubers are human — and prone to making errors. However, they may be more distracted than the average driver, given that Uber operates through the use of an app. They are also subject to additional pressures, such as making sure that your ride is pleasant and trying to get you somewhere in a timely manner so that they can get to their next ride.
Uber performs only minimal inspections of vehicles before allowing an individual to become a driver. It checks for basic safety issues, such as working lights and brakes, an intact windshield, the existence of safety belts, and a working muffler and exhaust system. It also reviews vehicles for passenger comfort. There are many aspects of vehicle maintenance that are not covered by the 19 point inspection. This means that an Uber driver could be driving a vehicle that is not in great shape — putting you at risk for an accident.
Who Is Responsible for Uber Accidents?
If you are injured in an accident while riding in an Uber, or as another driver or a pedestrian, you can file a claim the responsible party. The question of who will pay for your damages will depend on whether the Uber driver was “on the clock” at the time of the crash.
Once an Uber driver has accepted a passenger and is driving to their destination, the driver is covered by Uber’s insurance. Under California law, Uber is required to provide primary insurance with a limit of $1 million, plus uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage with a $1 million limit. The uninsured and underinsured policy is important, because it provides coverage in the event that you are a passenger in a Uber that is hit by another vehicle that either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough to cover your losses. Uber’s insurance coverage starts when a passenger enter the vehicle and ends when they leave it.
If you are a pedestrian or the driver of another vehicle that is hit by a Uber, then coverage for your damages will depend on whether the Uber driver was transporting a passenger at the time, as follows:
- Offline/Not working: driver’s own insurance covers damage
- App on, waiting for a ride request: if the driver’s policy does not cover the accident, Uber covers liability only, $50,000 per person bodily injury, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, $25,000 in property damage per accident.
- Ride accepted and during trips: $1,000,000 third party liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury, and contingent comprehensive and collision up to actual cash value of the car.
This means that if you are in an accident with a Uber, your ability to recover will largely be based on (1) whether the driver is working and has accepted a ride request; and (2) the extent of the coverage available.
Work with a Skilled California Uber Accident Attorney
Uber accidents can be challenging to handle given the complex nature of the insurance issues. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn, we have substantial experience helping individuals recover compensation for injuries suffered in these types of wrecks. Contact us today at (310) 209-1600 or email@example.com to schedule a free initial consultation.