Uber Accident Lawyers in Edwardsville, Illinois
Edwardsville residents have been fairly open to ridesharing services that are offered by companies like Uber. That is probably why Uber has shown significant growth in Southwestern Illinois. The region has significant potential regarding both area and population, and that is why Uber has seen a pretty good response here. There are more rides being requested and many Uber cars now on the road in Edwardsville.
Since on-demand transportation is still a fairly new phenomenon, there are several issues that need to be streamlined as far as companies like Uber are concerned. While the company allows passengers to arrange ridesharing with drivers who use their private vehicles along with the Uber app, there are still regulatory issues that need to be considered.
Uber started its services in Edwardsville in 2015. The Mayor of Edwardsville and his wife were the first two passengers when the service was launched. Initially, it was believed that the younger demographic would be more open to ridesharing services offered by Uber but pretty soon it became apparent that Uber was being used by anyone who wanted to get from one point to another and was willing to opt for a service that is both affordable and convenient. One of the major reasons why Uber is becoming popular in Edwardsville is the fact that people have limited transportation options. Taxis are practically nonexistent, and most people have to rely on their own cars.
Legislation for Ridesharing Services in Illinois
The State of Illinois has passed a bill that regulates the ridesharing industry. The bill was designed to create a framework for transportation network companies like Uber to operate in the state of Illinois.
As per the new legislation, ridesharing drivers are required to carry commercial insurance of $50,000 per injury in an accident, up to $100,000 total and up to $30,000 in property damage coverage. This coverage will kick in only when the driver is en route to pick up a passenger. In other words, these are the phases which will be covered by insurance:
- When the driver is active on the Uber software;
- When the driver receives a passenger request;
- When the driver is en route to pick a passenger; and,
- When the driver is en route to the passenger’s intended destination.
Once the driver has dropped the passenger and clocks-off the Uber app, the ridesharing policy will no longer offer any protection.
Uber also provides $1 million of liability coverage per incident and $1 million of uninsured motorist coverage. Also, the Uber policy includes $50,000 of comprehensive and collision and $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 of contingent coverage.
Criticism Against Uber
Taxi companies have already voiced their concerns about ridesharing companies like Uber. They believe that Uber primarily offers the same service as taxi companies, but they are not regulated the same way.
Uber claims that it is not a taxi service; in fact Uber considers itself to be a technology company and not a transportation provider at all. The company does not have any drivers that it employs nor does it lease or charter any vehicles. All it does is provide independent drivers the software that enables these drivers to offer ride sharing services.
Taxi companies believe this is just a lame excuse so that the company can get away with under regulation. While companies like Uber are now classified as Transportation Network Companies (TNC’s), they are still not as strictly regulated as taxi companies. The entire category of TNC is still evolving, and there is still a long way to go in terms of legislation and regulation regarding this new segment.
Despite the rapid acceptance and popularity, there are several concerns related to Uber. First, Uber’s driver screening process is believed to be quite weak. Drivers undergo a basic background check which does not involve any fingerprint screening. In addition, anybody with a valid driver’s license and a registered vehicle can become an Uber driver. The process is too simple, and the selection is based on very little information. That is probably why Uber has been criticized in some areas for driver assaults and other crimes against passengers.
Second, Uber has itself proudly accepted the fact that dozens of people in Illinois have become Uber drivers. A large portion of these drivers are in and around Edwardsville, and it is believed that these numbers will continue to increase. As more Uber drivers get on the road, the chances of accidents increase accordingly. Traffic congestion is already an issue on most roads in the country. Uber has such a simple system of enrolling drivers; anybody can become an independent employee and start earning additional income. This puts more strain on the roads and adds more vehicles on already congested roadways.
Only recently, an Illinois runner sued Uber in state court on the grounds that a negligent Uber driver caused an accident which resulted in the runner, Katharine Vesce, suffering a serious knee injury. The runner was on her to way to participate in the New York City marathon but was seriously hurt and unable to run any marathons in future. Vesce is suing Uber for negligence, fraud and other allegations. This is just one more addition to a series of lawsuits that have been filed against Uber in recent years. Most of these lawsuits highlight the lack of safety and training procedures at Uber and the negligent and reckless behavior of Uber drivers.
In her statement, Vesce indicated that as soon as she got in the Uber car, she felt that there was something off with the Uber driver. The driver was clearly not skilled and nearly caused accidents within the first few minutes of her ride. The driver also had poor communication skills and according to Vesce, could not read or understand the highway signs. Vesce also pointed out that the Uber driver veered through nearly four lanes of traffic at 70 mph. The car slammed into another car at full-speed.
Gap in Insurance Coverage for Uber Accidents
If you have been in an Uber-related accident, you have to keep in mind that just because there are two insurance policies in place, there will be no issue for injured parties in case of an accident. That is actually not true. Having a policy is different from actually getting compensation from insurance companies. First of all, Uber’s coverage is only contingent coverage. This can create significant problems if the company refuses to take responsibility for the accident in the first place.
Uber requires all its drivers to carry their own personal auto insurance. The company can initially try to settle the matter through the driver’s insurance company. Now if this particular driver does not have insurance or is underinsured, the injured party can have a tough time receiving compensation. Also, a personal auto insurance policy will generally not cover a ridesharing accident because ridesharing is a commercial activity. In most cases, the driver will be required to have additional coverage for their ridesharing business, but again, there is no guarantee that the Uber driver will have such coverage. In any of these situations, it is the injured party that is negatively affected when it comes to filing a claim and receiving compensation.
What To Do If You’re Involved In An Uber Accident
Keep in mind that despite all these gaps and loopholes, the fact is that victims of rideshare accidents can still pursue compensation. This compensation will either come from the driver’s insurance company or Uber’s insurance carrier. TNC is a new category, and ridesharing is still fairly new. That is a primary reason why both the company and the driver can get away with making things difficult for rideshare accident victims. However, if you have a good lawyer, you can, and you should fight for your rights, and you should work towards getting the compensation you deserve.
At Walton Telken Foster we understand that being involved in an accident can be quite devastating for people. This is especially true if you have suffered serious injuries. Our goal is to help you deal with the legal challenges associated with such an accident and to be able to get some financial relief to compensate for the damages that you may have incurred because of such an accident.
In case of Uber drivers and rideshare accidents, there are several legal aspects that are still unclear. Many people don’t realize that insurance companies can and do exploit these situations. Their goal is to minimize their financial losses. This is true for both the driver’s insurance carrier and Uber’s insurance carrier. Unless there is clear-cut evidence that the company and the company’s driver is at fault, Uber will contest the claim. That is probably why there are so many pending lawsuits against the company. We don’t want you to become involved in long legal battles. We understand that you need a quick resolution so that you can focus on your recovery.
If you are a victim of an Uber accident, call our Edwardsville office at 618-272-2284 today. Our Uber accident lawyers are here to help you and will ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.