Who is Responsible for Car Accident in an Uber?

Updated on August 17th, 2023 at 08:13 pm

Major rideshare companies like Uber are popular and convenient in Washington DC. Calling for a ride only takes a few taps on your phone. But despite their user-friendly apps and convenience, you can’t help but wonder, who is responsible for a car accident in an Uber?

Usually, the at-fault driver (the ride-share driver or another driver) is liable for the damages sustained. But when the at-fault driver’s insurance is inadequate to cover the damage, then Uber’s $1 million commercial policy takes effect.  

Below is an in-depth look at what happens in an Uber crash and how ridesharing insurance works in Washington DC.

What happens when a ride-share driver causes an accident?

When you get into a car accident involving an Uber employee, as an Uber passenger, pedestrian, or driver, you need to prove damages and negligence to get financial compensation. However, depending on the case, you can file a claim for compensation against several insurance companies, including the Uber driver’s personal insurance company, and your own.

If the motor vehicle accident was because of a rideshare driver’s negligence, you might get compensation from the rideshare companies’ $1 million liability coverage. However, getting Uber accident settlement from this policy isn’t guaranteed and varies depending on whether the Uber driver was logged into the driver app and working when the accident occurred.

Note: Provided the Uber driver has a comprehensive and collision coverage on their auto insurance policy, Uber will provide the $1 million liability when the driver is online.

How does Uber and Lyft insurance work for their drivers?

Lyft or Uber require their drivers to have car insurance and offer extra liability insurance coverage in case of Uber car crashes. The additional insurance coverage only works when the driver is logged into their app accounts and working. When the app isn’t open, Lyft or Uber’s liability policy doesn’t apply.

When you consult with a DC car accident lawyer, we’ll strive to determine whether the Lyft or Uber driver was logged into the company’s app. A ride-share company compensation occurs as follows:

  • Stage one – when the Uber/Lyft driver isn’t logged into the company’s app, the Rideshare company doesn’t cover the accident.
  • Stage two – when the Uber/Lyft driver is logged the driver app account but hasn’t accepted a request, Lyft or Uber liability coverage kicks in up to $50,000 for any individual that sustained bodily injury during the accident, $100,000 injury liability per accident, and $25,000 property damage liability. However, you can only file this accident claim after claiming from the driver’s commercial driving policy, and Lyft or Uber covers unpaid damages up to the defined limits.
  • Stage three – When the driver accepts a ride request and is headed to a pickup, Uber provides up to $1,000,000 in bodily injury coverage.
  • Stage four – During a ride and when ending the trip, Uber/Lyft’s liability coverage is $1 million and limited coverage for another driver’s car damage and coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorist.

If you get into an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, you should contact Bruckheim & Patel, an experienced DC car accident lawyer, to help you decipher the confusing rideshare insurance and the maximum compensation you deserve.

What if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt?

If you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, your chances of recovering damages or compensation reduce significantly. The at-fault driver could claim the ride-share passenger was negligent and that the Uber accident injuries sustained could have been prevented or less severe if a seatbelt had been worn.

What to do after an Uber Car Accident?

If you get into an accident with an Uber driver, as a motorist or passenger, ensure you and everyone involved is not injured. If you are injured, seek medical attention immediately. Next, request a bystander to call the police or do it yourself. If possible, follow the following steps:

  • Get the drivers’ names, their contact information and insurance details
  • Take the names of witnesses and their contact information
  • Get the responding officer’s name and your case number
  • Take pictures of the Uber car accident scene, including the Uber sticker on the driver’s windshield
  • Seek medical attention even if you don’t believe you are badly hurt
  • Contact a DC car accident lawyer

Negligence on Uber end

In addition to rideshare accidents caused by their drivers, other serious incidents Uber answers for include:

  • Battery and Assault
  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Rape and sexual assault
  • DUI

These incidents can be blamed on Uber’s failure to conduct sufficient background checks on their drivers. They outsource the background check process to third-party companies.

What happens when an Uber insurance company calls you?

After an Uber accident, you might receive calls from many people wanting to learn more about the accident. For instance, the Uber driver and their insurance company, or the Uber insurance company might get in touch.

Since you’ll be talking to many people, you need to limit what you say. Your DC car accident lawyer can handle communication on your behalf to control what is said and ensure no incriminating information is given.

Before you talk to an insurance company or Uber, our DC accident attorneys will review the police report, medical report, and other valuable evidence, listen to your story and the witness’ account of events to ensure the facts aren’t distorted.

What happens when a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorist is injured by an Uber vehicle?

A non-passenger injured by a Uber vehicle is compensated in the same way as a rideshare passenger. Medical expenses are covered by the Personal Injury Protection benefits from their no-fault policy.

Victims with injuries and damages that surpass their no-fault coverage and other health care benefits can file a claim from Uber. The damages can include:

  • Lost wages
  • Excess medical bills
  • Physical therapy and other long-term care
  • Non-economic damages like suffering and pain

Can I sue Uber?

Yes. Uber has tried to avoid taking responsibility for accidents their drivers cause, claiming the drivers aren’t Uber employees but contractors. They also argue they are an app connecting people with a service and that they aren’t actual employees.

Uber hopes their business model will protect them from car accident liabilities, but courts don’t usually feel the same way. Many state courts feel ride-sharing companies owe their passengers more and, as such, are put under stricter regulations and safety policies.

Do I need an attorney if I am injured in an Uber crash?

Yes. Since Uber accident and insurance laws are complicated, you need to hire a good DC car accident lawyer. With multiple insurance companies in the picture, knowing who should compensate the victim is difficult.

Moreover, since ridesharing services are still young, the laws surrounding the service are still evolving. Getting a DC car accident lawyer experienced in these cases is crucial.

Uber accident lawyers Bruckheim & Patel are attorneys ready to help with your Uber accident

If you or someone you know has gotten into an Uber accident, the personal injury lawyers at Bruckheim & Patel can help. Our experienced DC car accident attorneys understand the complexities of this new space and have experience getting clients the maximum compensation that they deserve.

Contact our experienced attorneys today for a free no-obligation consultation and legal advice on the next steps.


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