Ridesharing companies like Uber have taken the transportation industry by storm – though whether that is a good thing or not remains to be seen as the company contends with dozens of lawsuits across the country. For now, though, Missouri and Illinois residents can call up a ride from just about anywhere and thousands of regular people can make a couple of extra bucks by turning their cars into makeshift taxis. With so many rideshare drivers on the road, car crashes are inevitable. If an Uber driver causes an accident and you are injured, you may not know who exactly is liable for your damages, especially as the debate continues over whether or not drivers are actual employees of the company.
As with so many issues pertaining to Uber and other ridesharing companies, the answer to the question of accident liability is complicated. Drivers can essentially be covered by two different policies, and who pays depends largely on whether or not they are actively driving someone around. This could be good news if you are a passenger in an Uber vehicle. However, if you are the driver of another car hit by an Uber driver, or a pedestrian or cyclist, the rideshare insurance shell game may not work in your favor.
Who is Responsible for the Damages Caused by an Uber Driver?
All rideshare drivers are required to have car insurance policies, even if they live in states that have no official auto insurance requirements. However, many drivers have only the minimum insurance needed in their individual states, which can sometimes be too little to cover medical bills and repairs in the event of an accident. In order to supplement these policies, Uber and other rideshare companies provide liability coverage for their drivers. This also prevents drivers from having to use their own policies to cover damages that result from an accident they cause while on the clock. However, this coverage comes with a bunch of exceptions and caveats.
Uber provides insurance coverage for drivers when they are logged into the app, which essentially means they have clocked in to their job. However, the limits of this coverage fluctuate depending on a variety of circumstances. If a driver is active on the app and waiting to accept a fare, then the Uber policy will cover up to $100,000 in damages. As soon as a driver accepts a request, that coverage is upped to $1 million – that includes the time the driver spends getting to a location to pick up a passenger and continues until that passenger is dropped off where they wanted to go. These high limits are good news if you were hurt in an accident caused by an Uber driver, but not so good if you are an Uber driver yourself.
The biggest issue is that these policies only cover liability damage. That means that if an Uber driver causes the accident, the Uber insurance policy will not cover the damage to his or her vehicle. The driver will have to use his or her own auto insurance to cover those costs. Some insurance companies do offer supplemental personal injury protection policies for rideshare drivers, but many may not be able to afford these plans. Even worse, some insurance companies may dispute your claims if they discover that you damaged your car while driving for Uber. In the end, Uber or another rideshare company may end up covering your medical bills and repairs, but usually only if you were not the driver working for them.
Our personal injury attorneys can answer your questions about Uber accidents in Illinois and Missouri. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation. The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.