What happens if you get in an accident while driving for uber?
How to determine liability and get maximum compensation after a California rideshare accident
Uber drivers have many advantages that come with costly responsibilities, including carrying the required car insurance in case of an uber accident.
Like many jobs, there are pros and cons to driving for Uber. One important distinction for Uber drivers is that they’re independent contractors, not employees of Uber. This status has both benefits and disadvantages.
Benefits of driving for Uber
The benefits include:
- You’re your own boss, subject to Uber’s contractual standards and rules. You’re in charge of your work schedule and where you want to drive.
- Work is available 24/7, including weekends and holidays.
- You can be paid immediately upon driving a customer by credit to your debit card.
- You can earn money from driving in hundreds of cities around the world.
- Your earning opportunities are not limited to driving passengers but include delivery services.
- You can rent or lease a vehicle, and payments are deducted from your Uber earnings.
Disadvantages of driving for Uber
Uber driver responsibilities and costs include:
- You’re responsible for all costs incurred as a driver. This includes car payments, including any rental or lease payments. You must keep your vehicle clean at all times. Most significantly, you’re responsible for fuel and maintenance costs.
- You’re responsible for insurance. That includes premiums for your normal coverage plus a commercial rideshare endorsement.
- As an independent contractor, you don’t have the benefits of an employee, such as paid sick days, vacation time or health insurance.
- While you control your own schedule, your earnings depend on passenger demand, which varies depending on the time of day, weather and other factors. Driving without a passenger incurs costs (e.g., fuel and vehicle depreciation) that you must bear.
What happens if an Uber driver is injured in an accident while working?
Accidents happen even to the most careful drivers. If you get in an accident as an Uber driver, these are the steps you should take:
- Make sure all parties involved are safe.
- Contact the police and paramedics, if necessary.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you experience an injury.
- Report the crash to Uber using the appropriate claim forms.
Whose insurance will cover your injuries?
The Uber contract requires that the driver must carry personal auto insurance with a rideshare policy endorsement.
Uber and insurance companies classify rideshare incidents into 3 phases of service.
The Uber rideshare app is turned off, and the driver is not carrying a passenger or is on duty waiting for a passenger request order. If an accident occurs during this phase, the driver’s personal insurance will be responsible.
The Uber rideshare app is turned on, and the Uber driver is waiting for a passenger’s request for a ride. The Uber insurance policy will provide coverage for 3rd-party liability protection up to the minimum amount of coverage required by state law.
Typically, the minimum coverage is:
- $25,000 per accident for property damage
- $50,000 per person for injuries
- $100,000 per accident for injuries
It should be noted that Uber’s insurance has 2 restrictions:
- It does not cover the Uber driver’s injuries or property damage.
- It is contingent coverage and applies to 3rd-party damages only to the extent that the Uber driver’s personal insurance coverage does not apply or is insufficient to cover the 3rd-party damages.
In this phase, the Uber driver is on the Uber app and is either transporting a passenger or on the way to pick up the passenger. The Uber insurance will provide:
- Uninsured/underinsured coverage. Unlike the other coverage offered by Uber in Phases 1 and 2, this coverage applies to rideshare drivers if they were not at fault for the accident and the other driver is uninsured or underinsured.
- Contingent collision and comprehensive coverage (subject to a $2,500 deductible). This coverage applies regardless of fault and can be used to pay for damages incurred by the Uber driver as long as they also have their own comprehensive and collision coverage.
- 3rd-party liability coverage up to $1,000,000.
What happens if an Uber driver gets in an accident and the other driver is at fault?
California is a comparative fault state, which means that the person who is liable for an accident will have to pay damages based on their percentage of fault.
For instance, if a court determined the other driver was 95 percent responsible for causing an accident because they ran a red light, but the Uber driver was 5 percent responsible because they were distracted by talking with their passenger when they crossed the intersection, the Uber driver’s total reward would be reduced by their percent of fault, which in this case would be 5 percent.
In order to prove fault in any California car accident case, you’ll need to prove that the other driver was negligent and that negligence was the proximate cause of your injuries or property damage. Because of this, you should take photos and gather witness statements at the scene of the accident if you’re physically able to do so. Additionally, you should seek medical attention immediately after the accident so that your injuries are documented.
Taking these steps will make it much easier to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. An experienced car accident attorney can assist you with gathering the necessary evidence and obtaining expert witnesses to prove fault in your case.
What happens if an Uber driver is at fault for an accident?
Regarding a claim that another party files, your exposure is not much different whether or not you’re driving for Uber. As an Uber driver, you’re required to carry at least a minimum of liability insurance to cover injury or property damage to the other driver or their passengers, and you must also add a rideshare endorsement.
Additionally, if you’re driving for Uber, you must report the accident to Uber. Your position with Uber might be in jeopardy of deactivation. However, deactivation is not necessarily termination. In the case of deactivation, you would likely receive a notice with the reason for the deactivation, and Uber should provide instructions on how to reactivate your account.
What happens if my passenger is the cause of the accident?
Passengers rarely are responsible for accidents, mainly because the driver and passenger are normally not strangers. But rideshare situations are different. A driver cannot predict or control the actions of a passenger they don’t know.
So what if there’s an unusual situation where a passenger's inappropriate actions cause an accident?
First of all, even if the Uber driver is not at fault, they must take reasonable actions to deal with the resulting injuries. Otherwise, they could end up being liable to some extent. Next, the driver should document the facts and report the accident immediately to Uber.
Unfortunately, the Uber driver must prove that the passenger’s actions were the direct and proximate cause of the accident—meaning the accident would not have occurred but for the passenger’s actions—and that is a difficult task.
For example, a lively conversation with a passenger can cause an accident, but the passenger can’t be blamed for the driver’s distraction. For a passenger to be the proximate cause of an accident, they must actively interfere with the driver’s control of the vehicle.
When to contact a California car accident attorney
If you’re injured in an accident while driving for Uber or any other rideshare company, you need an experienced car accident attorney who understands liability laws in California and can help you recover maximum compensation.
At MVP Accident Attorneys, our lawyers have extensive experience with car accident cases and can guide you through the process and handle all the negotiations with the insurance companies so you can focus on healing from your injuries.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation of your case.
Brett S. Sachs graduated from Michigan State University College of Law with Cum Laude Honors. While attending Michigan State, Brett was awarded for his service in the Michigan State University College of Law Civil Rights Clinic, where he represented prisoners of the Michigan Department of Corrections from injustices brought upon them. Learn more.
When You’ve Been Injured
Personal Injury Law