If you are hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, you are in a much more complicated situation than most folks realize. While Uber drivers are required to obey the same laws as all other drivers in Illinois, the claims process can be different than a typical traffic accident liability lawsuit. In this article, we will discuss how a claim against an Uber driver works.
In cases in which an employee causes a traffic accident while on the job, the employer, in most cases, would be liable for the damages. This is known under the law as vicarious liability. Uber drivers, however, are not employees. They are technically considered independent contractors. Yet they are still independent contractors who are working on behalf of Uber.
For that reason, Uber has set up a $1 million policy that covers their drivers, but there is a catch.
Uber, like many new technologies, blurs categories. For instance, if an accident is caused by a cab driver in a company vehicle, that cab company is responsible when their driver is at fault. Uber, however, is different. Uber does not have company vehicles. Uber drivers use their own vehicles. Surely, Uber cannot be responsible for an accident if one of their drivers causes a crash on their way to the grocery store, and it is true; they are not. So, when are they liable?
As it turns out, there is a clock on Uber’s policy. The Uber insurance policy is triggered every time a driver is either on the way to a fare or has a rider in the car. So, if an Uber driver causes an accident while they are acting on behalf of Uber, then it is Uber’s policy that the claim is made and Uber is liable under the terms of that policy. Under any other scenario, the driver is responsible for the accident and it is their own personal insurance policy’s responsibility.
There are some cases in which suing Uber might be appropriate. For instance, if they allowed a driver who was unqualified for the task use their app, they could be held negligent. Uber drivers have made the news for sexual assault. In that case, there may be cause to sue Uber. If the accident is a typical car accident, then your attorney would pursue a claim against Uber’s policy and then they would haggle over the financials. Typically, main areas of dispute involve whether or not the Uber driver was on duty when the accident happened or the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. You will need to discuss whether or not this is appropriate with your auto accident attorneys.
The attorneys at Brassfield & Krueger have successfully litigated cases against both private, commercial, and rideshare drivers. If you have been injured, give us a call or talk to us online and we can discuss your case.
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