Who Can I Sue If I Was Injured in an Uber Accident?

Since its launch in 2009, Uber has quickly become one of the most popular rideshare services in the world. With its easy-to- use app, reasonable prices, and availability in most metropolitan areas, Uber has garnered enough business to disrupt the taxicab industry, causing legislative controversy in many states. Yet Uber has not had a spotless record in its eight years of service. Uber accidents, injuries, and fatalities occur every year. After an Uber (or Lyft) accident, victims may not understand their rights as injured passengers and should consider speaking with an experienced Atlanta Uber accident attorney to learn more. Here is an explanation detailing who may be responsible after a rideshare accident.

The Uber Driver

There has been much debate around the country as to whether Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors. California was the first state to go up against Uber for its classification of drivers as independent contractors, but the state of Georgia did not contest the company’s classification. Thus, if you’re in an Uber accident in Georgia, your driver is self-employed. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, however, you may be able to file a claim with Uber instead of the driver.

The individual driver might be liable for your accident if he or she was not on the clock at the time of the incident. For example, if an off-the-clock Uber driver struck you while you were walking across a crosswalk, odds are Uber would not pay for your damages. Instead, the driver’s personal insurance carrier would handle your claim. Uber covers its drivers in at-fault accidents any time they are online with the company – while they wait for requests, on their way to pick up riders, and while riders are in the vehicle. The only time Uber does not cover damages is when the driver is using the vehicle for personal use.

The Company

If an accident occurs when the Uber driver is not carrying a passenger, the driver’s personal insurance company primarily covers the damages. However, Uber has additional liability coverage of $50,000 per injury and $25,000 in property damage. This coverage is only available if the driver’s insurance does not fully cover damages. In an accident with a passenger in the vehicle, Uber’s coverage policy will cover the passenger and the driver.

In general, all employers are liable for the actions of their employees. Despite Uber classifying its drivers as independent contractors, this ridesharing company will still indemnify its drivers in car accidents while driving passengers. In an at-fault Uber driver accident, the company’s insurance plan kicks in to cover the injured party’s damages. Yet there have been cases where Uber has denied liability due to the status of the driver at the time of the crash.

For example, Uber denied liability in a 2014 case when a contracted driver struck and killed a six-year-old girl in San Francisco. Uber held that since the accident did not involve a trip on the Uber system (the driver was between rides), the company is not liable for the death. Since this incident, Uber has updated its insurance policy to encompass drivers between rides who are online with the system. However, liability is still a gray area in these cases.

A Third Party

If a third party caused your Uber accident, it may be possible to bring a personal injury claim against this defendant. This may be another at-fault driver, a vehicle part manufacturer, or a roadway maintenance crew member. If personal injuries stemmed from the negligence of a third party, victims have the right to sue. Plaintiff(s) will need evidence of negligence, and direct indication that the negligence caused the harms in question. In any case involving Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company in Georgia, contact an Atlanta personal injury lawyer. These cases can involve complex insurance and liability questions, and deserve the attention of a professional.