Currently, more than 75 million people across the world actively use Uber for their transportation needs. Uber, and other ridesharing companies, have grown exponentially since their launch in 2009. Their high rider demand has provided part- and full-time jobs for over three million drivers who rely on Uber for additional monthly cash. With a high supply and demand model, Uber seems to offer both its riders and drivers countless benefits. However, Uber is not immune to potential accidents that could cause injury to passengers, vehicles or pedestrians. Even though Uber drivers must go through a myriad of background checks before receiving their certification, accidents can and will happen.

If you were injured in a car accident with an Uber driver, who is to blame? The answer depends on the driver’s status at the time of the accident.

In a standard car accident, the injured person would file a claim against the at-fault driver. If that driver was found negligent, the injured person would then send the claim to the at-fault driver’s personal insurance agent who would then pay any damages. However, since Uber drivers are driving for compensation, their insurance coverage is different. Standard auto policies only cover drivers who are operating their vehicles for “personal use” – something Uber drivers cannot claim.

Additionally, Uber classifies their drivers as “independent contractors” for their company, instead of employees. This means that Uber itself cannot be held liable for any accidents or damages. However, they have started carrying liability insurance policies to protect their drivers from facing the full financial brunt of any accidents. Uber has a $1 million insurance liability policy for each of their drivers which can cover the injured party for any damages up to that amount. However, the coverage amount directly depends on the driver’s activity at the time of the accident.

Most importantly, the driver must technicially be “on the clock” when the accident occurs. This means, the driver’s Uber app must be open on their phone and they must be actively accepting riders. Simple having the Uber decal on the car does not mean the driver is currently working. If the driver was off the clock at the time of the incident, their personal policy would need to cover any damages.

Sometimes the accidents occur while the Uber driver is currently working, but has no passenger inside the vehicle. They may be on the way to pick up a customer, or may have just finished dropping the customer off at home. Whatever the case, Uber will rarely cover damages. In these situations, they prefer to leave the damages to the driver’s insurance policy.

The $1 million finally kicks in if the driver is currently carrying a passenger and is considered “actively working.” When transporting a passenger, Uber can provide the $1 million to cover any damages for the driver, passenger or third-party.

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident  with an Uber driver, contact Patterson Bray with your car accident case. They will be able to negotiate payments between Uber and the insurance company of the injured person and at-fault driver.