When an Uber driver is hit by another car, responsibility for injuries and property damages is assigned to the at-fault driver who caused the accident.
Uber Accident Liability
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Uber vehicles were involved in 97 fatal crashes between 2017 and 2018. In these crashes, Uber drivers accounted for 21% of deaths, Uber passengers accounted for 21% of deaths, and 58% of deaths were caused by other drivers. While Uber has its share of accidents each year that result in injuries and fatalities, accidents are not always caused by Uber drivers.
When an Uber accident occurs, the at-fault driver who causes the accident is liable for any injuries and property damages. Unlike taxi cabs, ride-share vehicles are not considered common carriers under the law, so they are not held to the same safety standards and financial liabilities.
State laws regulate ride-sharing services and may vary in different states. Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft are legally defined as companies that use technology and digital communication for transportation services to connect drivers with passengers. Laws state that ride-share drivers are engaged in transportation services when they accept a request to pick up a passenger or transport a passenger to a required destination. When Uber accidents occur, the law looks at state ride-share regulations, as well as who is at fault for the accident.
Insurance Has a Big Impact on Injury Claims
When an Uber accident happens, insurance plays a significant role in injury claims. If the Uber driver is at fault, the passenger can make a personal injury claim for up to $1 million against Uber’s liability coverage. However, if another driver is at fault, injury victims must first rely on the driver’s bodily injury liability coverage with his/her personal auto insurance provider. If the driver is uninsured or underinsured, injury victims may be able to file claims against Uber’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage may also apply if the accident was a hit and run.
Uber drivers in the United States are covered under insurance policies provided by four major insurance companies: Allstate, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, and Progressive. However, this insurance only pays out for injuries when the Uber driver is logged into the Uber app at the time of the accident. This shows that the driver is officially on-duty, either in route to pick up a passenger or delivering a passenger to a specified location.
If the driver is logged into the Uber app, typical coverage includes $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, $50,000 in bodily injury per person, and $25,000 in property damage per accident. If the Uber driver is en route to pick up passengers or providing trips, auto insurance limits are much higher. Specifically, they are: $1,000,000 third-party liability, $250,000 in uninsured motorist bodily injury, and contingent comprehensive and collision up to actual cash value of the car ($2,500 deductible).
If the driver is not logged into the Uber app, Uber will not assume liability for injuries, and accident claims filed against the company’s insurance policy will likely be denied. To collect compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, an Uber accident attorney can file a personal injury claim to recover compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance policy.
Claims for Uber Drivers and Passengers
When filing Uber claims, Uber drivers and passengers often have different legal rights. Since a passenger is rarely at fault for an accident, he/she may have a better chance of recovering compensation than an Uber driver.
On the other hand, an Uber driver may be found partially at fault for an Uber accident, even if hit by another driver. Partial liability may be assigned to the Uber driver if the following conditions can be proven:
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Alcohol and/or drugs
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Disobeying traffic laws
Illinois adheres to a traditional fault-based system when vehicle accidents occur. Shared liability may be assigned when two or more drivers are responsible for an accident. For instance, if another driver hits an Uber vehicle, but the Uber driver is impaired on drugs or prescription medications, both drivers can be held liable based on their percentage of fault. The value of accident and injury claims will be reduced by the percentage of liability. In shared-fault accidents, an Uber accident lawyer can address legal questions that may complicate ride-share injury claims and insurance settlements.