Ridesharing services, like Uber, have revolutionized the way we commute in California. While they offer convenience and efficiency, accidents involving these platforms have become a concern for both drivers and passengers. Understanding how Uber’s insurance policies work and determining liability can be complex. Anyone involved in such an accident must know their rights and the steps to take to ensure their protection. If you have been injured in an Uber accident in Los Angeles, contact our personal injury attorneys.
Understanding Rideshare Services
Rideshare services, such as Uber, connect passengers with drivers using personal, non-commercial vehicles through a smartphone app. These platforms have become popular alternatives to traditional taxis and public transportation due to their convenience and often lower costs. The drivers for these platforms aren’t typically professional chauffeurs; instead, they’re everyday people using their vehicles to earn extra income. As the popularity of ridesharing has soared, both riders and drivers need to comprehend the operational nuances and potential risks associated with this mode of transportation.
How Uber’s Insurance Policy Works
Uber’s insurance policy is structured to provide coverage in various situations, depending on the driver’s status within the app. When the Uber app is off, the driver’s auto insurance is the primary coverage. However, once the app is activated and the driver is waiting for a ride request, Uber provides a more limited form of coverage—this typically includes liability coverage for any damages or injuries the driver causes to others if an accident occurs, but the amounts are generally lower than when a ride is in progress.
The coverage becomes more comprehensive when the driver accepts a ride request and is en route to pick up the passenger, and it continues until the passenger is dropped off at their destination. During this period, Uber provides a $1 million liability coverage policy and a $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. This is to protect both the driver and the passenger. Additionally, there is also contingent comprehensive and collision coverage during this time, provided the driver has those coverages on their auto policy.
Common Causes of Uber Accidents
Uber accidents, much like other vehicular incidents, can arise from a variety of factors. One prevalent cause is driver distraction, especially given the necessity for drivers to interact with the Uber app to accept rides and navigate to destinations. Additionally, fatigue can play a significant role, as many Uber drivers work long hours or drive after their regular jobs to earn extra income. Furthermore, while Uber does have certain requirements for its drivers, some might lack comprehensive training or experience, leading to mistakes on the road. Lastly, the rush to pick up passengers or meet ride quotas can sometimes lead to speeding or other risky behaviors.
What to Do Immediately After an Uber Accident
If you find yourself involved in an Uber accident, the immediate aftermath can be overwhelming, but certain actions can aid in ensuring everyone’s safety and securing vital information. First and foremost, check on the well-being of all parties involved, including passengers, drivers, and any pedestrians or other drivers that might be impacted. If there are any injuries, no matter how minor, call 911 immediately. It’s crucial to get medical personnel on the scene to evaluate and treat any potential injuries.
Once everyone’s safety is confirmed, it’s essential to gather as much information as possible. This includes taking photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damages, and any visible injuries. If there are witnesses, get their contact details and statements. Also, always report the incident to the police and obtain a copy of the police report. Such documentation can prove invaluable should there be any legal or insurance claims in the future.
Determining Liability in Uber Accidents
Determining liability in Uber accidents can be more complicated than in standard vehicular accidents due to the involvement of multiple parties and insurance policies. Moreover, Uber drivers are held to a higher standard of care as “common couriers” under the law. When an accident occurs, the fault may lie with the Uber driver, another motorist, or even external factors like hazardous road conditions. Uber drivers operate as independent contractors, which means they are not direct employees of the company.
However, Uber does provide insurance coverage, which may become the primary source of compensation, especially if the driver’s insurance falls short or does not cover the specific incident. Understanding the specifics of when Uber’s insurance kicks in, as compared to the driver’s insurance, is essential in determining where claims should be directed.
Steps to Take If You’re Injured in an Uber Accident
If you’re injured in an Uber accident, it’s paramount to prioritize your health and safety by seeking immediate medical attention, even if injuries appear minor at first. Following medical care, promptly report the accident to Uber through the app, ensuring that they are aware of the incident and any injuries sustained. Lastly, considering the complexities of rideshare accidents, it’s often beneficial to consult with a personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal processes and help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Why It’s Beneficial to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Hiring a personal injury attorney after an accident offers several advantages. An experienced attorney understands the intricacies of the legal system and can make sure that your rights are protected and that you can navigate the complexities of insurance claims efficiently. They can negotiate on your behalf, often securing higher compensation than one might achieve alone. Moreover, having legal representation can alleviate the stress of dealing with insurers and other involved parties, allowing you to focus on recovery.
Ardalan & Associates Can Help If You’re Injured in an Uber Accident
An Uber accident can present unique challenges, but help is available. With the expertise and dedication of Ardalan & Associates at your side, you can confidently pursue the justice and compensation you deserve. Reach out to our team today for guidance and support tailored to your unique situation.
Ardalan & Associates, PLC is a personal injury law firm based in Thousand Oaks, serving all of Southern California including Los Angeles, Ventura, Kern, and Orange Counties. We are committed to helping our clients involved in ridesharing and Uber accidents seek justice and navigate their legal journey.