Rideshare apps have revolutionized the way people use transportation. In New Orleans, people use Uber to get home safely after a night of drinking, get a ride to and from the airport, or even get to work regularly. While Uber has become part of the common vernacular, it’s not always safe.
The statistics on the safety of ridesharing apps show mixed signals. One study at the University of Chicago found that the introduction of ridesharing apps, like Uber, correlates with a three-percent increase in traffic fatalities. On the other hand, research from Western Carolina University found that Uber and Lyft lower the number of fatal accidents and DUIs.
Of course, we recommend that everyone use ridesharing apps, public transportation, or designated drivers rather than driving while intoxicated. This will be especially important with Mardi Gras around the corner. However, riding in an Uber is no guarantee of being safe.
One thing is for sure: all the statistics go out the window when you’re the one hurt in an Uber. It can feel personal, and the complexities of ridesharing insurance can make the aftermath particularly frustrating. Whether your Uber driver or another party was at fault for the accident, you deserve compensation to help you deal with your injuries. Be sure to contact a New Orleans personal injury attorney for assistance in navigating this complicated process.
Uber’s Insurance Policies for Drivers
Most personal car insurance policies explicitly state that it will not cover accidents that happen while the driver is working as a rideshare driver. As such, companies like Uber and Lyft purchase insurance policies that cover their drivers. The liability coverage limits depend on the status of the driver:
- Off/Unavailable: No coverage. The driver must use his or her personal insurance.
- Available or Waiting: $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $25,000 in property damage per accident, and $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- En Route to Pickup or With a Passenger: $1,000,000 third-party liability
When the driver is en route to pick up a passenger or has a passenger in the car, the policy also covers accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers.
These coverage limits mean that Uber’s insurance should provide you with up to one million dollars if you are hurt as a passenger in an Uber. If you are hurt by an Uber driver while you are in another vehicle or as a pedestrian, the amount of coverage will depend on the status of the driver at the time. Sometimes, it can be hard to know immediately whether the driver was en route to a passenger or only available. A New Orleans personal injury attorney can help you sort that out.
What Uber’s Insurance Doesn’t Cover
No matter what coverage the policy entitles you to, Uber’s insurance company will likely try every trick in the book to keep from paying it. After all, the business model of insurance companies involves avoiding payouts as much as possible. Just like in other car accident situations, you may have to sue the insurance company to get the compensation you deserve.
The insurance policy also may not be enough to cover your needs. For example, if an Uber driver hits you while waiting for someone to hail them, the insurance company only has to cover up to $50,000 in medical bills and $25,000 in property damage. Depending on the severity of your injuries and the value of your car, you may need more than this to cover your financial cost.
In situations like this, you may need to file lawsuits against the driver and/or Uber itself. Your attorney will advise you on the best course of action, depending on the specifics of your case.
Suing Uber for Accidents
Because Uber classifies its employees as independent contractors, the company frequently argues that it is not financially responsible for injuries that the drivers cause. However, that doesn’t mean there are no possible legal cases against Uber.
If the company was negligent in some way, you might be entitled to compensation from Uber. For example, if they failed to complete a background check, the company could be liable for damages. Furthermore, there is pending litigation that seeks to change drivers from independent contractors to employees, which would hold Uber more accountable.
Steps to Take If You’re in an Accident Caused by an Uber
Whether you’re a passenger, pedestrian, or sharing the road, there are specific steps you can take to protect your interests after an accident involving Uber:
- Call 9-1-1 and seek emergency medical assistance if needed
- If you are physically able, take pictures of the scene, involved vehicles, license plates, and injuries
- Write down the insurance information from all involved drivers
- Get the contact information for any witnesses
- If you’re the Uber passenger, take screenshots of the Uber app and information about your ride
Once you are away from the scene of the accident, be sure to contact your insurance as well. Then, find a New Orleans personal injury attorney to help. They can give you tips, take on the insurance company for you, and ensure you follow the steps you need to to get compensated.
As the case continues, be sure to document everything. This includes keeping receipts of every medical bill and getting notes from doctors about the extent of your injuries. You should also keep records of all contact you have with involved parties, including the Uber driver, any other driver, Uber representatives, and insurance company representatives.
Hiring a New Orleans Personal Injury Attorney
Getting the compensation you deserve after any car accident can be difficult, but it becomes especially trying when you involve ridesharing. That’s why you need an experienced, determined attorney by your side. At Alvendia, Kelly & Demarest, we are proud to represent our clients in these cases steadfastly–just see what our previous clients have to say.
If you’re hurt in an accident while taking an Uber, don’t wait to call an experienced New Orleans personal injury lawyer. You can contact us online or call us at 504-200-0000.