The popularity of rideshare apps like Uber are starting to outpace traditional taxi services. Uber offers a cleaner and more comfortable experience, and all their drivers have been through strict background checks. However, accidents happen. A clean car and law abiding driver wont change that. Which leaves the question, what should you do if you were involved in a car accident with an Uber driver?
Uber Wrecks are Insurance Limbo
The nature of how Uber works has created what seems like an insurance Limbo. This perception is due more to the newer nature of the rideshare business model than any real lack of coverage. The drivers are classified as independent contractors who are responsible for their own insurance, but as a company, Uber also bears some responsibility when it comes to accidents. Depending on which state, the level of liability an Uber driver or the company is responsible for can vary. Rest assured though, if you are injured in an accident involving an Uber car or driver, you are legally protected.
Accident Policies According to Uber
New rules both on a company level and with insurance providers have made the waters a little less murky, but many people are still unsure how to handle an accident involving an Uber car. One thing to remember is that an accident victim doesnt have to be an Uber passenger. A victim can be a bystander who has still been injured by a representative or agent of a company while they were performing their duties.
The details on safety found at Ubers website focuses on how it is safe for the user in terms of protecting them from predators and criminals. There is also a page in their drivers resources site that gives general and basic information on what to do in the event of an accident, and they also have a policy in place that states drivers who are involved in too many accidents are dismissed. This is for the drivers though, and there are no solid guidelines given telling injured passengers what to do on Ubers site. ?Ubers policies are responsible, but accidents do happen, and those policies are there more to protect Uber than they are to help accident victims.
Steps to Take if Youve Been in an Uber Accident
The way to handle an accident involving an Uber car is the same as any car accident. First and foremost, keep yourself safe and stay calm. Move your car out of the way of traffic, if possible. Immediate medical attention should be sought for anyone with serious injuries, and always be aware of any signs of internal damage.
Next, make sure to document the scene of the accident to the best of your ability, including taking pictures of the vehicles and everyone involved. Get all the important information such as the drivers name, the license plate of all the vehicles that were part of the crash, and the contact info of any witnesses. Remember that this is an accident scene, and everyone must remain there until the police arrive, unless there is a severe injury requiring medical treatment or there is a threat of violence due to road rage. Just because a rideshare vehicle is involved doesnt change the law.
Accident victims should be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible, after the accident. Some injuries, even serious ones, may take days or even weeks before they become apparent. By that time, the insurance companies will be able to say that the injury you sustained was caused by something other than the wreck with the Uber vehicle.
Additional Steps for Uber Accidents
In the case of an accident involving an Uber vehicle, the injured person may be contacted by representatives of three different parties ? the Uber driver, Uber the company, and their own insurance. Often these insurance companies will try to get an accident victim to sign an agreement that limits their settlement and prevents them from taking further legal action.
One important thing to remember is to never agree to anything an insurance company offers, until youve spoken to a lawyer, no matter how fair it may sound on its surface. And most of all, never admit fault, even in jest. An offhand comment like, I should have paid more attention to where I was going, said in an attempt to ease the tension of a situation can be enough to have any claim dismissed, no matter how valid.
Uber likes to let its drivers give the company an image of being a bunch of hard working men and women making extra money with a side job. While this is true about their drivers, Uber is a large corporation with an army of lawyers and lobbyists working to make sure that things go their way in court and that new and existing laws are interpreted in a way that favors them. Everything they do is in their own self-interest, including how they treat those who have been injured by one of their drivers or as a passenger in an Uber vehicle. ?Make sure you take steps to protect your own self-interest. Call a lawyer.