Have you ever stopped to think about what to do if you’re in an accident in an Uber? Many people have not. But if you ever use Uber or another ride-sharing company to get from point A to point B, you should.
Since 2011, traffic deaths have risen 2-3%, according to a recent study from the University of Chicago and Rice University. In 2010, traffic deaths were lower than they had been since 1949. Uber launched in San Francisco in 2010. Other ride-sharing companies began to take off around the same time. There are no studies that can definitively blame the rise of ride-sharing companies on the uptick in traffic deaths. However, many believe the corresponding timelines are no coincidence.
This does not mean you should stop using Uber. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will ever be in an accident in an Uber. But you should know what to do in the event that you are. For the most part, your response and actions will be similar to what you would do if involved in any other car accident. Uber reminds people that the first thing to do is ensure that everyone involved is safe. If needed, call 911 and seek medical attention.
At this point, it is wise to write down all the details you can remember along with the names, contact information, and insurance information of all involved. Take pictures of the scene of the accident and the cars. Even if you do not think you have serious injuries, it is a good idea to be examined by a doctor in case complications arise due to unseen injuries. As soon as you have a moment, use your app to report the accident to Uber. If you have been involved in a serious accident, they have a form on their website for you to report that accident. You can report the accident even if someone else requested the trip.
Uber does have an insurance policy in place. The coverage varies from state to state but can provide at least $1 million to cover damages if certain conditions are met. That’s where it gets a little complicated. Since drivers are independent contractors rather than employees, the Uber accident insurance policy typically only kicks in if the driver’s coverage won’t or if the other driver is underinsured or uninsured. There may be other limitations, too, depending on the situation.
What that means is that in most instances, you will be dealing with the Uber driver and the driver’s insurance, not Uber itself. And coverage among drivers can vary greatly from driver to driver and from state to state. If you end up in a situation where a lawsuit is necessary, the driver is likely to be the defendant, not Uber. Because of these variations, statistics on Uber accident settlements amounts are not readily available.
As with any car accident, if you think you have sustained any injuries, it is best to contact a lawyer. This is particularly important if the accident involved an Uber. Your lawyer will send preservation of evidence letter to Uber and to the driver. This ensures that all data related to your ride will be preserved. This information will be important if there are issues when you file a claim.
It is always to your advantage to have a legal expert on your side when you’ve been in an accident—especially if you’ve been injured. When the accident involves an Uber driver, there are additional considerations that can make things a little more complicated. Contact an attorney to advise you and guide you through the process.