What happens if you are injured in an Uber Accident? Is Uber insured for an injured passenger? Are you covered?
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are becoming more and more popular. People enjoy the convenience of simply pressing a few buttons on their smartphone and, viola, a few minutes later there is a driver at their door. Rideshare companies are often cheaper than taxis, too.
In traditional taxi companies, both drivers and vehicles are licensed and regulated through the state or municipality. Drivers and cab owners are subject to insurance requirements. Laws govern car accident fault, insurance and compensation.
In contrast, ridesharing drivers do not have to be licensed by a government entity. So in the event of an Uber accident, the issue of responsibility is less straightforward. Rideshare drivers are independent contractors, not employees, so they do not have “vicarious liability.”
Under vicarious liability, a company is responsible for the negligence of any of their employees while job-related tasks are being performed. Since this does not apply, Uber and Lyft cannot be held liable for the negligence of their independent contractor drivers. And though Uber does offer a limited insurance policy to its drivers, the drivers themselves must still have their own personal auto insurance.
Like Uber and Lyft, insurance companies are profit-driven businesses. It is no wonder, then, that many have responded to the rise of Uber and Lyft by specifically excluding coverage for injuries from an Uber accident, or Lyft accident, that occur while a driver is working. If you are a rideshare driver, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have this sort of insurance.
Although ridesharing drivers and vehicles do not need to be licenced through the State, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has set insurance regulations for Uber and other similar providers. These companies must provide primary liability coverage as well as personal injury protection coverage for their drivers. It is important to know that the degree of coverage depends on what the driver is doing at the time of the accident.
If the driver is not logged into the app, Uber provides no coverage. The driver’s own personal liability policy applies.
If the driver is available for riders (read: “logged in”), but does not have a passenger in his vehicle, Uber provides “as necessary” contingency coverage. It includes $50,000 coverage for bodily injury per person, a maximum of $100,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in coverage for property damage per accident. The coverage will go into effect if the driver’s policy refuses to pay.
If the driver accepts a fare and is in route or has a passenger in the car, Uber provides $1,000,000 coverage per Uber accident for personal injury, $1,000,000 coverage per accident for property damage, and $1,000,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist protection coverage.
Although rideshare companies may deny any vicarious liability for drivers’ negligence, accident victims have sued Uber for damages. Uber settled several of these cases out of court where the victims received compensation even though the company did not accept responsibility.
So rest assured, the next time you hop into an Uber. If you’re in an Uber accident, they’ve got you covered!