All drivers are at risk for accidents on the road…
BUT UBER drivers face a unique set of challenges that make them especially accident-prone.
UBER drivers – whether part-time or full-time – are working long hours every day, often late into the night, and regularly traveling to new and unfamiliar areas, all with the added pressures of tight deadlines and customer satisfaction. All of these factors combine to make a difficult and often dangerous driving environment.
Unfortunately, when accidents do happen, the outcomes can be devastating.
Every time an UBER driver gets behind the wheel, they are risking not only their own safety, but also their source of livelihood. Even if the driver and passengers are lucky enough to avoid injury, the bills from the accident can start to pile up, and these bills can ruin an UBER driver financially as badly as any injury would.
In addition to loss of livelihood and loss of transportation, UBER drivers may face difficulty after an accident because they often have little understanding of the necessary steps they need to take in order to get adequately compensated.
Ordinary insurance is not good enough for an UBER accident. Instead, UBER drivers must be covered by special rideshare insurance, but UBER drivers often have difficulty navigating the rideshare insurance system, which differs from the ordinary insurance process in several important ways.
UBER drivers also frequently operate under the misconception that UBER will protect them, or that they don’t need an attorney. NEITHER OF THESE THINGS ARE TRUE.
With the rise of popular rideshare apps such as UBER and Lyft, such accidents are becoming more and more frequent. This is why it is VITAL to know the system and prepare yourself for such a situation.
In this guide we are going to walk you through the steps of exactly how to protect yourself should the worst-case scenario happen.
Property Damage and Accidents Involving Injuries
Accidents happen, especially if you’re on the road frequently as an UBER driver. That’s just a risk inherent in the business.
Unfortunately, UBER is notoriously unreliable at compensating its drivers in the event of an accident. Despite what the ride sharing company may tell you, UBER does not have your best interests at heart. It is a for-profit company, and like any such company, it wants to avoid paying any expenses if it can help it. If you have been in an accident, expect UBER to fight as hard as any insurance company would, to avoid having to pay you a dime.
That’s just the way the game is played. We can’t change it… but we can help you.
What To Do if You Are in an Uber or Lyft Accident
Property Damage Accidents Only
If there is ONLY vehicle damage, contact your insurance company. This is why you have insurance.
Typically you will need to pay a deductible, which you will likely be reimbursed for, after you are found not at-fault.
You should also contact the other party’s insurance company, and give to them the facts of the accident. Once both insurance companies are aware of the accident, they will begin to investigate and come to a conclusion about who was at-fault.
If this is the case, then UBER will not have to get involved. However, the process of recovering damages from an insurance adjuster can be very difficult on its own, and hiring an accident attorney may be a good way to increase your bargaining power.
Accidents with Injuries
When there are injuries involved, you should ALWAYS talk to an attorney.
Consultations are always FREE and having an attorney can be the deciding factor in you winning your case. In this situation, you can’t afford the risk of going it alone!
Personal injury attorneys will take care of your medical bills and speak to the insurance company for you. If UBER or another rideshare service is involved, your attorney can also work directly with them on your behalf. And, because dealing with UBER, Lyft and similar companies can be tricky, you want to be sure that your attorney has experience handling ride sharing accident cases.
The 3 Uber Periods Explained
Let’s say you were in an accident and you WERE injured. What kind of coverage will you be liable for as an UBER driver, and what is Uber’s responsibility? The answer to that question very much depends on when the crash occurred. Once the UBER app is on, a driver’s time is divided into three “periods”. The driver is insured (or not insured) based on what period they were in at the time of the accident.
Period 1: When the UBER app is on and the driver is waiting for a request
It should probably come as no surprise to you that UBER takes no responsibility for accidents that happen to drivers on their own private time. Surprisingly, UBER is still not considered liable for its drivers’ accidents just because the UBER app is on.
Why is this the case? UBER drivers are considered by law to be independent “contractors,” rather than UBER employees. This provides numerous liability benefits to UBER, and one of these benefits is that when you are an UBER driver, you are only technically “on the clock” once your passenger has requested a ride.
If you get into an accident during this period, UBER is NOT liable, and the accident will be treated as any “regular” car accident would. However, while UBER does not provide accident coverage, it does provide liability coverage during this period.
Period 2: When the driver is en route to a passenger
When you’re on route to a passenger who has requested a ride, UBER’s rideshare insurance technically covers you. However, here’s where things get a little tricky. I’ll explain:
Typically, after an accident, the driver is unable to pick up a passenger. This results in a CANCELLATION. However, when it comes time to demand liability, UBER is unaware of when the accident occurred. For all they know, the passenger could have cancelled before the accident.
In other words, even if you were in Period 2, UBER can easily claim that you were in Period 1.Uber Accident Tip - Take a ScreenshotClick To Tweet
If you are involved in an accident during Period 2, you want as much evidence as you can get that the ride was still active at the time of the accident. Taking a screenshot that shows the date and time, along with the active ride, can mean the difference between winning and losing your case.
Keep this information, and provide it to your attorney.
Period 3: When a passenger is in the vehicle
During Period 3, UBER’s liability insurance will always cover you.
Since the passenger is in the vehicle…
It is very easy for your attorney to prove that you were “on the clock” at the time of the accident.
What To Do After An Uber Accident?
Step 1 – Make sure that you are okay.
When an accident occurs, your first priority is to ensure your own safety. Move your car out of the way of traffic, and get over to the side of the road if possible. Don’t get out of your car in the middle of the road!
Check yourself for injuries, but be aware that not all injuries are readily apparent. Some injuries, such as whiplash, take some time to manifest themselves after a car accident. Once you have ensured that you are okay, check on the other people in the car with you. Are they conscious and responsive? If a person has suffered a serious injury, it is best to call paramedics immediately and not move the injured person until they arrive.
Set up flares, cones, or reflective triangles to warn other drivers of your stalled vehicle and the potential danger it poses.
Step 2 – Document the accident.
No matter which period the accident occurred in, you want to do everything you can to document the accident and gather evidence.
First off, if you are in Period 2, take the screenshot on your phone showing the phase (or period) of the ride you are in. This will help prove the accident occurred while you were in the scope of driving for the company before the ride was cancelled. Immediately following an accident, your system will be full of adrenaline and you may have trouble remembering details like these, but failing to take a screenshot is something that you may regret later…
Then, follow the same protocol taken after a typical accident:
Gather as much evidence as possible.
Get the contact and insurance information of the other driver (in fact, the law requires you to do this). But don’t stop there. Talk to any witnesses of the car accident, and get their contact information as well. Write it down on your phone or a notepad – somewhere it will be safe. Using your phone to record video of what a witness saw is also a great way to accurately record what they saw. Their testimony could help you out a lot.
Injured or not, your best bet is calling the police. When this happens, be sure to get the contact information of the police officer who responds to your accident as well as a report number. Once you have the officer’s contact information, you should follow up with them later to get the police report of the accident. Police reports are typically free, and they are often very helpful to your case.
Step 3: Seek medical assistance.
If you have suffered any injuries in the accident, whether seemingly minor or more obviously serious, you should not delay and should seek immediate medical evaluation and assistance. More important than any other factor in an accident is the health and well-being of you and the others involved in the accident. Obtaining the right medical treatment is not only necessary for long-term health outcomes, but it is your medical treatment that makes up the backbone of any personal injury claim you will make! If you don’t receive treatment for an injury, then your attorney can’t prove that you even suffered an injury.
Request copies of all your medical bills, and keep them in a safe place.
With medical bills in-hand, your personal injury lawyer can use them to help you recover damages later. The more medical bills you save, the stronger your case will be!
Step 4: Speak to an attorney.
If you have suffered an accident, then you should speak to an attorney right away.
The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start working on your claim. With personal injury matters, you do not want to delay. Delays can negatively impact your health and prolong pain when appropriate treatment is not scheduled promptly, it can negatively impact settlement offers made by insurance providers, it can result in compromised or lost evidence and the inability to preserve evidence, and it can also destroy your ability to make any claim at all if action is not taken before the statute of limitation runs out.
Do not delay, consult with an experienced attorney as soon after your accident as possible – ideally within 48 hours.
There are a number of pieces of information that your attorney may need in order to build the strongest case possible for you, so, do everything you can to retain any information pertaining to your case. This information includes your driver’s license, health insurance card, and automobile declaration page, your insurance information and that of the other driver, along with policy and claim numbers if available, photographs of damage to your vehicle, photographs of injuries sustained, any medical reports or bills collected, and the accident location and the traffic collision report (TCR) number if one was taken (or at least the officer’s badge number).
You should also send over any information you have received from your insurance provider or from the other driver’s insurance provider – although remember to NEVER talk to the other driver’s insurance company without having first sought legal counsel.
What If I’m A Passenger in an Uber Accident?
When caching an UBER ride, your safety is in UBER’s hands and you deserve compensation if any harm comes to you.
The good news is, if you are an UBER passenger, you are an innocent victim and not much will be required to prove this. The challenge for passengers in these types of accidents is proving the extent of injury suffered and obtaining just compensation for those injuries.
If you have been injured, you will likely want to seek compensation for the injuries you have sustained.
UBER has insurance to cover passenger injuries, and it even has uninsured motorist coverage in case the UBER driver is in an accident with another driver who has no insurance. However, UBER is still not your friend. They want to keep their money, and they will do everything they can to deny your claim and push responsibility onto the UBER driver or the driver’s insurance company.
If you are an injured UBER passenger, then your best bet is to speak to an attorney who will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. Don’t let anyone confuse you or tell you you’re not entitled to compensation as a passenger!
What if an UBER Driver Hits Me?
Accidents involving UBER drivers and third parties also find themselves in murky legal territory. The question of whether UBER is responsible for the actions of its drivers was put to the test in 2013. San Francisco UBER driver Syed Muzzafar struck and killed a 6-year-old girl, Sofia Liu, who was crossing the street.
At the time of the accident Muzzafar had the UBER app on, but he did not have a passenger in his vehicle. Because of this, UBER tried to argue that it was not liable for damages stemming from the accident – once again invoking the defense that its drivers were “independent contractors” rather than “employees.”
In the face of intense public pressure, UBER reached a settlement with the family of the girl.
Since this case was settled, however, UBER has continued to deny legal liability for the actions of its drivers, and if you find yourself in a collision with an UBER driver, your ability to recover damages is by no means guaranteed.
You will likely face an uphill battle to recover damages, especially if there was no passenger in the UBER vehicle at the time of the crash. In these cases, hiring a personal injury attorney is more important than ever.
There is nothing more vital than ensuring your protection after an accident if you are an UBER driver.
Accidents are common for UBER drivers…
And if you are involved in one, you might be injured, or lose your livelihood or means of transportation. We hope that you never get in such an accident, but nevertheless, you should be prepared in the event that you do.
If you have been in an UBER or Lyft accident, Call us!. We give FREE consultations, and you have nothing to lose from speaking to one of our dedicated team members.
Click the link to speak with us now!
Want some additional reading?
Check out these great articles and guides:
- What to do if the police report is wrong? In this article we answer that very question. Police reports often have errors and there are measures that can taken to correct them.
- We should not forget our article on the most dangerous roads in Orange County for UBER drivers.
An important reminder for UBER/LYFT drivers and passengers
This article is not legal advice nor is it intended to apply to your specific situation. None of the testimonials or stories are guarantees, warranties or assurances of a similar outcome. They are only illustrations to help understand the UBER accident process. Please consult with an experienced California Uber/Lyft accident attorney for the legal advice you need. This article is solely intended for those who have an automobile accident case in California.