If I’m Hit by an Uber, Who Can I Sue?
Uber was an idea conceived in Paris at a tech conference by two friends who had each just sold a startup company. Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick were unable to get a taxi on a cold Paris night, and the glimmer of an idea for a ridesharing service was born. Today, Uber captures 72 percent of the rideshare business, with Lyft having a much smaller share. Uber is worth almost $58 billion, although at one point it was valued at almost twice that. Founded in 2009, Uber went public on May 9, 2019.
While considered the world’s most valuable startup with one of the most highly anticipated IPOs at the time, Uber made history with the biggest first-day dollar loss in U.S. history. Since that time, Uber has acquired Drizly, Postmates, and JUMP, and entered into a partnership deal with the scooter company, Lime. Despite the fact that Uber has had some bumps and bruises along the way, the company currently provides about 15 million rides per day.
What Happens When An Uber Driver hits my Car?
If an Uber driver hits your vehicle, you will likely deal with the driver the same way you would with any other driver. You will exchange insurance information with the driver, have your injuries checked out by a medical professional, contact the police so you will have a police report, and contact your own insurance company once you are home.
Under Pennsylvania’s no-fault laws, if you have chosen limited tort insurance, your own insurance will pay for your medical expenses and certain other damages, up to a specific amount.
If your injuries are very severe and it’s clear the Uber driver is liable, then you may file for excess medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering under the Uber driver’s insurance—even if you carry limited tort insurance.
If you carry full tort insurance, then you can file against the at-fault driver and potentially against Uber as well. Suppose the Uber driver’s insurance does not cover your injuries and other damages, and the driver was logged in to the app and on the way to pick up passengers or had passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident. In that case, you may be able to sue Uber.
If the Uber driver had only the minimum required coverage in the state of Pennsylvania, your injuries may have significantly exceeded the insurance coverage. If you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may have to file under this coverage to have your injuries and damages paid for—unless the Uber driver was “on the clock,” and you can file against Uber.
Will Uber Pay for My Injuries?
There is a clause in Uber’s insurance policy that negates insurance coverage—even if the Uber driver is 100 percent liable for the collision—when there is no passenger in the vehicle, or the app is not open and active on the driver’s mobile device. So, if an Uber driver hit you when the app was not open and active and/or they had no passengers, you will have to rely on the Uber driver’s insurance—or your own uninsured/underinsured insurance.
If the Uber driver is at fault and had passengers or the app was open and active (i.e., they were on the way to pick up passengers), and your injuries were severe or catastrophic, Uber will likely pay for them. As the victim of an Uber accident, you are responsible for proving liability, then collecting from the insurance company. Having an experienced Uber accident attorney can make the process infinitely easier, allowing you the time you need to heal from your injuries and determine how you will move forward, while your attorney fights for the settlement you deserve.
What if the Uber Driver Had No Insurance?
Uber drivers are required to carry the minimum auto insurance required in their state. In Pennsylvania, a bill was passed in 2016 that regulates rideshare companies, setting insurance standards, fee and licensing requirements, and inspection standards. Under this legislation, Uber drivers can no longer “forget” to tell their auto insurance company that they are driving people for money, then later have the insurance company deny the claim following an accident. Pennsylvania now requires Uber drivers to maintain insurance through a Transportation Network Company, which recognizes the vehicle as a “vehicle for hire.”
Additionally, Uber has recently raised their rideshare rates by 5 cents per mile in Pennsylvania and seven other states. The goal is to have customers pay the cost of a pilot program that provides Uber drivers with injury protection and income security insurance. Unfortunately, this is an optional program, so not all Uber drivers take advantage of this additional insurance. As with any Pennsylvania auto accident, you will file under your own PIP insurance for minor injuries, wage loss, and other damages.
How Will I Prove Liability Following My Uber Accident?
Proving liability following an accident with an Uber vehicle is essentially the same as for any auto accident. The police will come to the scene of the accident, questioning those involved, along with any witnesses. In some cases, when fault is apparent, this will be stated in the police report—and the at-fault driver may even receive a traffic citation. If fault is unclear, the insurance company or companies may investigate the accident to determine liability.
Once you have an attorney on board, he or she will also investigate the accident in an effort to definitively prove fault. If your injuries are severe, and your attorney files against Uber, they will almost certainly have the accident investigated in an effort to avoid liability. Traffic cameras, or cameras on nearby buildings, along with the “black box” in the vehicles involved in the accident may also help prove liability.
Will My Uber Claim Go to Trial?
Very few auto accident claims go to trial, most of which are settled outside of a courtroom. Even when a lawsuit is filed and a trial has begun, the claim can still be settled up to the time when a jury has returned their verdict. It is unlikely your Uber claim will go to trial. Instead, your attorney will negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf. There is a significant amount of negotiating between attorneys following an Uber accident—or any auto accident. Your attorney will look out for you and your best interests while working toward a settlement that fully covers your damages.
While having an experienced personal injury lawyer following any auto accident is important, it is even more important when an Uber driver is at fault. The Pennsylvania Uber accident attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices know all the laws and regulations governing rideshare drivers in Pennsylvania and can ensure you receive a fair settlement.