Who is liable when an Uber driver causes a car accident that results in serious personal injuries? In most cases, injury victims should think about proceeding as they would in any other car accident case. In other words, you should be sure to collect the Uber driver’s personal contact information and insurance policy information. Just like in any other traffic collision, you should consult with a personal injury attorney who will likely file a claim against the Uber driver’s insurance company and any and all other parties responsible for the collision.
Generally speaking, Uber and Lyft drivers must have their own personal insurance policy when they are in their for-hire vehicles, including while they are driving paying passengers. The companies Uber and Lyft do provide $1,000,000 per accident of insurance coverage, but the amount available to passengers can vary with different factors. For instance, some insurance companies do not want to cover individual drivers who get into an accident when they are working as a “for-hire” driver. Therefore, in the situation in which the driver responsible for the accident was on the clock—such as working for a delivery company—the injury victims would ordinarily seek additional compensation from the employer.
However, Uber and Lyft argue that they are not “employers” when it comes to their drivers. Uber and Lyft emphasize that their drivers are independent contractors, which means that the company is not responsible for the driver’s behavior. As such, if injured passengers are not able to obtain full compensation through the driver’s personal insurance, they may have a difficult time filing a claim against one of these ride-sharing companies.
When confronted with a legal claim, Uber and Lyft will initially say their drivers are independent contractors and not employees, and therefore they are not necessarily responsible for the accident or any injuries. Either company will first tell you to contact the driver’s insurer about an accident, no matter the circumstances. If the ridesharing driver did not have the ride-hailing app on or had not been matched with a rider, the driver’s auto liability insurance should cover the accident claim.
Uber and Lyft drivers are required to have auto liability insurance, but they are not required to obtain a driving–for–hire endorsement, which is an extra cost. This gives the driver’s insurance company cover to deny an accident claim if the crash occurred while the ridesharing driver was on the clock working for Uber or Lyft at the time of the accident.
If the ridesharing driver was working, then your accident claim should be directed to the ridesharing company. Uber and Lyft have auto liability insurance that covers drivers who are involved in an accident while working as a driver for hire. Unfortunately, many injured individuals with valid claims will drop them once denied by the driver’s individual insurer.
Uber and Lyft maintain extensive insurance coverage, which theoretically makes appropriate payments readily available to riders and others injured in accidents their drivers cause. However, as a Washington Post report explains, Uber goes to great lengths to deny claims. In doing so, Uber not only protects its bottom line but also keeps drivers who have caused accidents on the road.
Remember, each case is unique, so contact HURT-511 for more information on workers’ comp statute and our personal injury lawyers help injured workers recover the benefits to which they are entitled by law. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, call us toll-free at 800-4878-511 or complete our online form. Our firm handles accident and injury claims throughout all five boroughs of New York.
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