What If You Are Injured In An Uber or Lyft Car?

One of the most interesting things about how business is developing in the 21st century is the rise of the new “sharing economy” where people convert their property into temporary money-making operations. Air BnB is an example of people doing this with their homes, using them as informal “hotels” for travelers to make a little money on the side, and Uber or Lyft are the automobile version, where drivers make some extra money by using their own car as an unofficial taxi to ferry passengers to their destinations.

However, as with anything in life, things can wrong, and there’s a chance that you may find yourself in an incident with one of these riding services where an injury is involved. If this happens to you, what are your options when dealing with this new kind of service?

Complex Legal Protection

One of the things that really comes to the fore when you look at a service like Uber is just how convoluted their legal rights are when it comes to the business. First, unlike a cab or truck driver, an Uber driver is NOT considered an employee, but an independent contractor working for the company, so this already changes quite a few things right off the bat in terms of legal responsibility for Uber itself.

Secondly, Uber has employed a three part system of insurance protection with regards to the people that drive for them. When an Uber driver is not actively working, there is no insurance protection from Uber whatsoever. If you get into accident with an Uber driver who is “off the clock” as it were, the accident will be treated as you’d expect, with two individuals and their respective insurance companies negotiating over damage.

If an Uber driver is available to take jobs but doesn’t have a passenger yet, they receive their own insurance protection plus an additional liability coverage from Uber itself of up to $50,000 per injury to a maximum of $100,000. If an Uber driver is actually on the job, with a passenger, they receive Uber liability coverage of up to $1 million.

Wiggle Room

Where things get complicated is due to the independent contractor nature of the driver, something that Uber has used in its defense before. For example, there was a tragic case in San Francisco where a 6 year old girl was hit by an Uber driver and subsequently died. Uber, however, absolved itself of all responsibility, citing that the driver was in-between jobs.

In addition, for drivers, things get very complicated as some insurance companies will NOT provide coverage for additional passengers in a car if the passengers are there as part of a paid service. What this means is for you is that depending on the type of accident you are in with an Uber driver, there is an extremely complicated web of financial responsibility that needs to be untangled that may make Uber responsible, or the Uber driver solely responsible, or the driver having to shoulder the entire financial burden with no coverage from an insurance company.

Because of this, if you find yourself in an Uber related accident, you should make sure you get advice from an experienced auto accident lawyer. It’s the fastest way to sort out your legal rights in this matter as well as sort through the maze of assigning responsibility for damage and compensation.