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Can I Sue Uber for a Car Accident?

Young business man with phone in car. Man holding smartphone wit

Rideshare drivers for Uber and Lyft are all over the roads. Unfortunately, many of these drivers are no more qualified to drive professionally than your average motorist, despite being on the road for long stretches of time. If you are hit by a negligent Uber driver, what are your options? Can you sue Uber, or are you limited to the driver’s personal insurance coverage? Read on to learn about filing claims against Uber after an accident, and call an experienced Calabasas auto accident attorney for help with a California car crash claim.

Suing Uber as Another Motorist

Traditionally, liability for a company like Uber would turn on legal principles like “respondeat superior,” which holds companies liable for the actions of their employees. But because Uber considers drivers to be independent contractors rather than employees, issues of liability might get tricky and contested.

Thankfully, whether or not you’d prevail in a classic lawsuit against Uber, California law requires Uber to carry insurance for the benefit of anyone injured by one of their drivers during a trip. The level of insurance coverage (and Uber’s level of tacit acceptance of responsibility) depends on when the accident occurred:

  • App off. If the driver’s app is off and the driver is on their free time, then it does not matter that the driver also drives for Uber. Uber provides no insurance coverage and the driver is on their own. You will need to file a claim against the driver directly.
  • App on, searching for fares. If the driver has their Uber app on and they are looking for a passenger, they are partially covered by Uber. Uber’s insurance kicks in if the driver’s own insurance does not cover the accident. They are protected up to $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident. If you are injured, you can go after the driver and their own insurance or Uber, as appropriate. If your damages exceed the policy limits, you’ll need assistance from a seasoned auto accident lawyer to collect your full damages.
  • Fare accepted and/or passenger picked up. Once a fare has been accepted and the driver is heading to pick them up, the driver is fully on Uber’s clock until they drop off the passenger(s). Uber carries $1,000,000 in third-party liability insurance for this period, as well as contingent comprehensive and collision insurance. You can claim directly against Uber, without having to sue the driver separately.

Suing Uber as a Passenger

If you are a passenger in an accident during an Uber ride, your rights depend on who caused the accident. If the accident was the fault of another driver outside your Uber, then you would need to proceed against that driver under their insurance. If your accident was your Uber driver’s fault, however, then you can file a claim against Uber and benefit from the $1 million insurance policy.

Notably, Uber is also required to carry significant uninsured and underinsured insurance for the benefit of Uber drivers and passengers. If the driver who hit your Uber does not have insurance coverage, you can file a claim against Uber to cover your injuries.

If you or someone you love has been injured by an Uber driver or another negligent motorist in Southern California, call a dedicated and trial-ready car accident attorney at the Halpern Law Firm. We fight for the compensation you and your family deserve. Contact us at 818-785-5999 today. These cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning you won’t be charged any attorney’s fees unless we win.

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