Who Is Liable for My Injuries in an Uber Accident In New York State?

Driver using smartphone while operating vehicle, highlighting a common cause of rideshare accidents.

Ridesharing services like Uber have become increasingly popular in recent years as a convenient and affordable alternative to traditional taxis or public transportation. However, just like any other vehicle on the road, Uber cars can—and do—get into accidents.

If you sustain injuries as a passenger in an Uber accident, you need an Uber accident lawyer to determine who is liable for your injuries.

Read on to learn who you can hold liable for your Uber accident injuries and the insurance coverage that applies in different scenarios. For specific advice and counsel regarding your situation, contact an New York uber accident attorney in your area for a free consultation.

Uber’s Insurance Coverage

Before delving into specific liability scenarios, you will need a lawyer who understands the insurance coverage that Uber provides in New York State. (New York City sets different insurance minimums. Those injured there will want to talk to a lawyer in the city for the specifics.)

Uber carries a $1 million liability insurance policy that covers passengers from the moment they enter the vehicle until they exit at their destination. This coverage is significantly higher than the minimum required for personal vehicles in most states.

Uber’s insurance policy includes:

  • $1 million of third-party liability coverage per incident. This covers the Uber passenger’s medical bills and other damages if the Uber driver is at fault for the accident.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. This provides coverage if another driver causes the accident and doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the passenger’s medical expenses and other damages.
  • Contingent comprehensive and collision coverage. This kicks in if the Uber driver maintains personal comprehensive and collision coverage on their own vehicle. Uber’s contingent policy covers physical damage to the Uber vehicle that occurs during a trip, regardless of who is at fault.

This $1 million liability coverage only applies from the time the Uber driver accepts a ride request until the passenger exits the vehicle. When the driver logs into the Uber app and is waiting for a ride request, Uber provides lower liability limits. If the app is off, the driver’s personal auto insurance policy applies.

Scenarios Where the Uber Driver Is at Fault

Lawyer reviewing documents with a model car and a gavel on table, symbolizing legal proceedings

In many cases, if an Uber accident injures you, the Uber driver bears liability.

Some common examples of driver negligence that can lead to accidents include:

  • Distracted driving, such as using a phone while driving
  • Speeding or other reckless driving behaviors
  • Failing to obey traffic signals or signs
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Fatigued driving

When the Uber driver is at fault, Uber’s liability policy should cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. You would file a claim against Uber’s insurance, not the driver’s personal auto insurance.

One potential complication is if your damages exceed $1 million. In that case, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the Uber driver to seek additional compensation. However, Uber requires all its drivers to buy personal auto insurance, so the driver’s policy may provide additional coverage on top of Uber’s policy.

Scenarios Where Another Driver Is At Fault

In some cases, you may get into an Uber accident another driver causes. If the other driver is at fault, their personal auto liability insurance would typically cover your injuries and damages.

A person using ride sharing app on mobile phone.

However, not all drivers carry insurance, and some may have policy limits that are too low to fully cover your medical expenses and other damages.

This is where Uber’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage comes into play. If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you can file a claim against Uber’s UM/UIM policy to cover your remaining damages, up to $1 million.

Your qualified attorney can advise you on the best course of action based on the specific circumstances of your case.

Injuries Involving Uber Driver Misconduct

In rare cases, an Uber driver may injure a passenger through misconduct, such as assault or other intentional acts. Uber’s insurance policy generally does not cover damages caused by intentional acts.

In these situations, you may need to file a civil lawsuit against the driver. You may also have a case against Uber if you can prove that the company was negligent in its hiring, supervision, or retention of the driver.

What to Do If You Are in an Uber Accident

If you are in an Uber accident while riding as a passenger, to protect your health and your legal rights:

  • Seek medical attention immediately, even if you think your injuries are minor. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
  • Call the police to report the accident. Be sure to get a copy of the police report.
  • Collect information from all parties involved in the accident, including names, contact information, insurance information, and license plate numbers. Also, gather contact information for any witnesses.
  • Take photos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and your injuries.
  • Report the accident to Uber through the app or website.
  • Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the claims process, negotiate with insurance companies, and ensure that your legal rights are protected.
  • Do not sign any documents or accept any settlement offers from insurance companies without first consulting with your attorney.

Can I Sue Uber Directly for Damages Following an Uber Accident?

In most cases, you cannot sue Uber directly for damages following an accident. This is because Uber considers its drivers as independent contractors, not employees of the company.

Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, you can hold a company liable for the actions of its employees, but not for the actions of independent contractors.

However, in some situations Uber could face direct liability:

  • Negligent Hiring or Retention: If Uber fails to properly screen its drivers or retains drivers with known safety issues, your attorney could hold the company liable for negligent hiring or retention. For example, if Uber hires a driver with a history of reckless driving or DUIs, and that driver causes an accident, you can hold Uber directly liable.
  • Failure to Maintain Insurance: Uber must maintain certain levels of insurance coverage for its drivers. If Uber fails to maintain this insurance and you are injured in an accident, you may sue Uber directly with a lawyer’s help.
  • Defective Uber App: If the Uber app itself has a defect that contributes to an accident (for example, if it provides incorrect navigation information that leads to a crash), Uber could potentially face direct liability.
  • Fraud or Misrepresentation: If Uber engages in fraud or misrepresentation about its services or its drivers’ qualifications, and this leads to an accident, you could work with an attorney to hold them directly liable.

Insurance adjuster and client filling out claim forms by damaged cars after an accident.

These situations are rare. In most cases, your attorney will file a claim against Uber’s insurance policy or the at-fault driver’s personal insurance policy.

If you believe Uber may face direct liability, or if your damages exceed the available insurance coverage, consult an experienced personal injury attorney right away. An attorney can review your case, advise you on your legal options, and help you pursue all available avenues for compensation.

Remember, every case is unique, and the laws surrounding rideshare accidents can be complex. Don’t try to navigate the legal system on your own. Work with an Uber accident attorney to protect your rights and improve your chances of receiving full compensation for your injuries and losses.

Contact an Experienced Uber Accident Attorney for Help

Uber accidents can involve multiple parties and complex insurance policies. As an injured passenger, you will likely file a claim with Uber’s $1 million liability policy or the at-fault driver’s personal auto insurance. However, every case is unique, and multiple parties may share liability.

The most important thing you can do after suffering injuries in an Uber accident is to seek medical attention and consult an experienced New York personal injury attorney.

An attorney can help you understand your rights, build a strong case, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Remember, you should never have to bear the financial burden of someone else’s negligence. With the right legal support, you can focus on your physical recovery while your attorney handles the legal complexities of your case.

The Uber accident attorneys at The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP have successfully handled many injury claims for Uber passengers throughout the greater New York City area. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you navigate the complexities of recovering damages following an Uber accident.

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