Does Uber bear any liability for any accident?

The growth of ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft has brought a whole new level of complexity to California traffic law.

If you are like most Californians today, you have probably used a ridesharing service at least once, and possibly you use these services regularly. In fact, Uber was born right here in California in the city of San Francisco!

But this doesn’t make it any easier to figure out who owes what to whom when you are involved in a ridesharing accident. One common question our ridesharing accident lawyer clients ask is, “does Uber bear any liability for any accident?” Let’s find out now!

What Happens If You Are Involved in a Ridesharing Accident?

Just as the use of ridesharing services is on the rise, so too are ridesharing accidents on the rise throughout California and the nation.

Whenever you choose to use a ridesharing service, it is important to know there is the possibility of one day being involved in a ridesharing accident.

This means it is smart to learn what happens after being involved in a ridesharing accident.

What should you do first and next? Who pays for your claims if your property is damaged or destroyed or you need medical care? When do you need to retain the services of a Los Angeles Uber accident lawyer?

The answers to these questions are more complicated than most ridesharing passengers realize.

How Uber Handles Liability for Ridesharing Accidents

In the case of ridesharing giant Uber, while they do maintain a one million dollar insurance policy for ridesharing accidents involving passengers, this does not automatically mean you will ever see a payout.

Sadly, all too often a ridesharing accident lawyer has to get involved to force these super-rich ridesharing companies to do the right thing.

Why is this? It is because Uber recognizes three different periods, or time frames, for when an Uber driver is in their vehicle.

Period One: Uber driver is off duty.

The first period is an off period. In this period, the Uber driver may be in their vehicle – the same vehicle they use for transporting Uber passengers – but the Uber app is off and they are not accepting passengers.

If an Uber driver is involved in an accident during this first period, they are only covered by whatever personal auto insurance policy they may have, if any.

Period Two: Uber driver is on duty and seeking a passenger.

The second period is an on period, but only in the sense that the driver has turned on the Uber app and is actively seeking a passenger to transport.

During this second period, Uber only provides very limited insurance coverage in case that driver is involved in an auto accident.

Currently, the coverage level from Uber’s own insurance policy is as follows:

– $50,000 in injury coverage per person (up to $100,000 maximum).
– $25,000 in property damage, period.

If additional coverage is sought or required, it would have to come from the driver’s own auto insurance policy. Here, even if the driver has a personal insurance policy, all claims made against this policy are likely to be denied since the driver was using their vehicle for commercial (work) purposes.

The driver should have a commercial personal auto insurance policy that covers use of their vehicle for Uber. If they do not, any claims get more complicated yet again.

Period Three: Driver has accepted a passenger.

Once the Uber driver has accepted a passenger, everything changes. In this case, either the Uber driver is on their way to pick up the passenger or they are actively transporting the passenger.

This is when Uber’s full one million dollar insurance policy is in full effect.

However, this still doesn’t mean that the coverage can be accessed if the Uber driver gets into an accident. That is dependent on declaration of fault.

California Is a “Fault” State for Auto Accident Claims

Not every state in the nation assigns fault before processing auto insurance claims payouts. But California does this and it makes this state one of the strictest and most challenging for settling claims disputes.

The insurer whose driver is declared to be at fault has to pay out the insurance claims for the accident. A driver can be declared fully at fault, partially at fault or not at fault.

So let’s say the Uber driver is declared fully at fault for causing the accident and you were a passenger in that vehicle when the accident occurred. In this case, you shouldn’t have any trouble submitting claims to Uber’s insurance carrier and getting them reimbursed promptly.

But what if you were a passenger and the Uber driver transporting you was declared only partially at fault? In this case, you could only submit claims and apply for reimbursement up to the point where the Uber driver was found to be at fault.

If you have additional expenses as a result of being in the accident, even if you were an Uber passenger when it occurred, you would have to apply to the other drivers’ insurance carriers for reimbursement on your own.

Now what if the Uber driver transporting you was declared fully not at fault? In this case, you are highly likely not to receive any coverage at all from Uber’s own insurance policy.

If claims need to be made, you will have to seek reimbursement from the Uber driver’s own personal (commercial) insurance carrier, if any, and from the other drivers, if any.

Now you are probably starting to see more clearly how Uber liability claims can get so complicated and why having a ridesharing accident lawyer to advise you can be so beneficial.

When to Hire a Ridesharing Personal Injury Lawyer

Being involved in a ridesharing accident as a passenger or a bystander is stressful enough. But then when the claims process stalls out as insurers fight over who is responsible for payouts, it can go from anxiety-producing to panic-inducing.

This is the right time to consider hiring a ridesharing personal injury lawyer to handle your claims and represent your interests.

The ridesharing companies answer to shareholders, not contracted drivers or ridesharing passengers. They don’t want to make any insurance payouts if they can avoid it. Hiring your own Los Angeles Uber accident lawyer gives you leverage you often cannot get on your own.

Do You Need a Los Angeles Uber Accident Lawyer? We Can Help

Have you been involved in an auto accident while a passenger in an Uber? Or are you an innocent bystander who has been affected by the actions of an Uber driver? These are hands-down the most complicated types of auto accident claims to navigate here in the state of California.

Ridesharing law itself is a fast-evolving aspect of traffic law and one in which precedents are still being set every day in court.

In the majority of accident cases, settling insurance claims payouts is too complex for the average individual to handle on their own. We may be able to help. Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers today to schedule your initial free consultation.